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.

Forthcoming in American Economic Journal: Applied Economics