Destruction from Above: Long-Term Legacies of the Tokyo Air Raids

59 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2019 Last revised: 17 Jun 2021

See all articles by Masataka Harada

Masataka Harada

Fukuoka University - Faculty of Economics

Gaku Ito

Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences and NERPS, Hiroshima University

Daniel M. Smith

Harvard University - Department of Government

Date Written: June 16, 2021

Abstract

What are the long-term effects of community-level destruction on human and social capital? This question is important for understanding the consequences of war and other disasters, but is often challenging to answer given the nonrandom nature of exposure to destruction, and coarse measurement of damages. We use historical aerial photographs taken after the United States’ indiscriminate firebombing of Tokyo during World War II to generate detailed data on conditionally independent variation in neighborhood-level damages from the air raids. Decades after the bombings, the most heavily damaged neighborhoods continued to exhibit worse outcomes on several socioeconomic measures of human capital, and lower levels of social capital as measured by the presence of an authorized neighborhood association. These findings are consistent with the idea that the social capital of survivors is a key ingredient for postwar recovery; when fewer survivors remain, communities can potentially be set on a path of persistent disadvantage.

Keywords: historical persistence, political violence, geographic information systems (GIS), remote-sensing, social capital

JEL Classification: C80, D64, D74, I24, J64, K42, N35, N45

Suggested Citation

Harada, Masataka and Ito, Gaku and Smith, Daniel M., Destruction from Above: Long-Term Legacies of the Tokyo Air Raids (June 16, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3471361 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3471361

Masataka Harada (Contact Author)

Fukuoka University - Faculty of Economics

19-1, Nanakuma 8-Chome
Jonan-ku, Fukuoka, Fukuoka 8140180
Japan

Gaku Ito

Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences and NERPS, Hiroshima University ( email )

739-0046
Japan

HOME PAGE: http://gaku-ito.github.io

Daniel M. Smith

Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/danielmarkhamsmith

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