Rare events and risk perception: evidence from the Fukushima accident
We study changes in nuclear-risk perception following the Fukushima nuclear accident of March 2011. Using an exhaustive registry of individual housing transactions in England and Wales between 2007 and 2014, we implement a difference-in-difference strategy and compare housing prices in at-risk areas to areas further away from nuclear sites before and after Fukushima incident. We find a persistent price malus of about 3.5% in response to the Fukushima accident for properties close to nuclear plants. We show evidence that this price malus can be interpreted as a change in nuclear-risk perception. In addition, the price decrease is much larger for high-value properties within neighborhoods, and deprived zones in at-risk areas are more responsive to the accident. We discuss various theoretical channels that could explain these results.