Severyns Ravenholt Seminar in Comparative Politics: Destruction from Above: Long-Term Legacies of the Tokyo Air Raids

Daniel M. Smith, Harvard University
Friday, November 20, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Zoom Invitation

What are the long-term effects of community-level destruction? We use historical aerial imagery of the aftermath of the United States’ indiscriminate firebombing of Tokyo during World War II to generate detailed new data on conditionally independent variation in neighborhood-level damages from the air raids. While existing studies based on larger geographical units in Japan and elsewhere find little evidence of persistent negative legacies of bombing campaigns on population outcomes or economic performance, our analysis with these fine-grained data reveals a more nuanced picture. Decades after the bombings, more heavily damaged neighborhoods continue to exhibit worse outcomes on several socioeconomic measures.

Discussant: Lauren Hwayoung Lee

Please contact Kenya Amano via to access the Zoom link.