Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Atomic bombs and the long-run effect on trust: Experiences in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Yamamura, Eiji (2012): Atomic bombs and the long-run effect on trust: Experiences in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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Abstract

Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan are the only cities in the world that have experienced an atomic bomb attack. This paper explores how this devastating experience affected victims’ tendency to trust others. Individual-level data were used to examine the long-term influence of experiencing an atomic bomb on individuals’ trust. After controlling for individual characteristics, I obtained the following key findings. Individuals who experienced the attack were more likely to trust others. Furthermore, estimation based on a subsample revealed that victims of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb were more likely to trust others than those born in other areas of Japan before World War II. This implies that experiencing an historically traumatic event in 1945 strongly influenced individuals’ trust in others even at the beginning of the 21st century. It follows from this that the effect of this devastating experience was enduring and had a long-term influence on individuals’ values.

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