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Seminar «The Behavioral and Psychological Consequences of a Nuclear Catastrophe: The Case of Chernobyl»

IZA-HSE University International Labor Seminar was held on September 30, 2020

Speaker: Alexander M. Danzer (KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt and IZA).

Title: The Behavioral and Psychological Consequences of a Nuclear Catastrophe: The Case of Chernobyl.

This paper examines the long-term impact of the nuclear disaster of Chernobyl on the preferences and beliefs of the Ukrainian population. Exploiting plausibly exogenous geographic variation in radiation fallout and containment measures, we find that people who were more affected in 1986 display stronger risk aversion and higher discount rates in 2007. They save less, are less entrepreneurial, are much less inclined to support democratic political institutions and the market economy, and they engage less in political and civic activities. Ruling out physical health and risk perceptions as potential mechanisms our analysis suggests that the impact of the disaster is psychologically mediated, which is also reflected in depressed wellbeing measures.

Joint paper with Natalia Danzer (FU Berlin and IZA) and Ernst Fehr (University of Zurich and IZA).