Energy Saving May Kill: Evidence from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident
- American Economic Journal: Applied Economics (Forthcoming)
Following the Fukushima nuclear accident, Japan gradually shut down all its nuclear
power plants, causing a countrywide power shortage. In response, the government
launched large-scale energy-saving campaigns to reduce electricity consumption.
Exploiting the electricity-saving targets across regions and over time, we show that the
campaigns significantly increased mortality, particularly during extremely hot days. The
impact is primarily driven by people using less air conditioning, as encouraged by the
government. Nonpecuniary incentives can explain most of the reduction in electricity
consumption. Our findings suggest there exists a trade-off between climate change
mitigation and climate change adaptation.
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