Be Cautious with the Precautionary Principle: Evidence from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident

43 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2019

See all articles by Matthew Neidell

Matthew Neidell

Columbia University; University of Chicago - Department of Economics and CISES; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Shinsuke Uchida

Nagoya City University - Graduate School of Economics

Marcella Veronesi

University of Verona - Department of Economics; Center for Development and Cooperation (NADEL)

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Abstract

This paper provides a large scale, empirical evaluation of unintended effects from invoking the precautionary principle after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. After the accident, all nuclear power stations ceased operation and nuclear power was replaced by fossil fuels, causing an exogenous increase in electricity prices. This increase led to a reduction in energy consumption, which caused an increase in mortality during very cold temperatures. We estimate that the increase in mortality from higher electricity prices outnumbers the mortality from the accident itself, suggesting the decision to cease nuclear production has contributed to more deaths than the accident itself.

Keywords: precuationary principle, nuclear energy, electricity, mortality

JEL Classification: I12, K32, Q41

Suggested Citation

Neidell, Matthew and Uchida, Shinsuke and Veronesi, Marcella, Be Cautious with the Precautionary Principle: Evidence from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12687, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3475793 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3475793

Matthew Neidell (Contact Author)

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Shinsuke Uchida

Nagoya City University - Graduate School of Economics ( email )

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Marcella Veronesi

University of Verona - Department of Economics ( email )

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Center for Development and Cooperation (NADEL) ( email )

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