The John M. Olin Center

Paper Abstract

909. J. Mark Ramseyer, Nuclear Reactors in Japan:  Who Asks for Them, What Do They Do?, 06/2017; published in European Journal of Law and Economics, Special Issue (2017).

Abstract: Japanese communities with nuclear reactors have them because they applied for them, and they applied for them for the money. Among Japanese municipalities, they were some of the most dysfunctional before the reactors had even arrived. These were the villages that had long fought for targeted subsidies, but ignored infrastructural investments. Subsidies operate as a regressive tax on out-migration, of course, and the lack of private-sector infrastructure reduces the returns to high-value human capital. As a result, these were the villages from which the most talented young people had begun to disappear--even before the reactors arrived. After the communities built the reactors, talented young people continued to leave. Unemployment rose. Divorce rates climbed. And in time, the communities had little other than reactor-revenue on which to rely.

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