Does the Presence of Wind Turbines Have Negative Externalities for People in Their Surroundings? Evidence from Well-Being Data
Throughout the world, governments foster the deployment of wind power to mitigate negative externalities of conventional technologies, notably CO₂ emissions. Wind turbines, however, are not free of externalities themselves, particularly interference with landscape aesthetics. We quantify the negative externalities associated with the presence of wind turbines using the life satisfaction approach. To this end, we combine household data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) with a novel panel dataset on over 20,000 installations. Based on geographical coordinates and construction dates, we establish causality in a difference-in-differences design. Matching techniques drawing on exogenous weather data and geographical locations of residence ensure common trend behaviour. We show that the construction of wind turbines close to households exerts significant negative external effects on residential well-being, although they seem both temporally and spatially limited. Robustness checks, including view shed analyses based on digital terrain models and placebo regressions, confirm our results.
Christian Krekel, Paris School of Economics – EHESS, France
Alexander Zerrahn, German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)
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