This paper examines how the concentration of special interest groups affects the placement and success of controversial facilities. It argues that authorities site public bads–nuclear power plants, dams, and airports–in locations where, especially in the long term, there are fewer pressure groups who oppose such facilities and more who support them. The presence of powerful politicians and worsening first sector employment increase the likelihood that a public bad will be placed in a locality. The placement of an initial public bad in an area overcomes an opposition threshold and makes additional sitings far easier than 'greenfields' siting attempts. Using a new dataset on Japan involving approximately 500 observations of villages and towns over the post war period, this paper reveals that special interest groups become more involved in facilities associated with higher levels of risk and that non–political factors, such as higher population density and smaller town size, only occasionally demonstrate exclusionary effects.
Working Paper 05–01, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, March 2005.