Category Archives: 2016

Adapting to Climate Change: The Remarkable Decline in the U.S. Temperature-Mortality Relationship over the 20th Century

TITLE
Adapting to Climate Change: The Remarkable Decline in the U.S. Temperature-Mortality Relationship over the 20th Century

AUTHORS
Barreca, Alan, Karen Clay, Olivier Deschenes, Michael Greenstone, & Joseph S. Shapiro

STATUS
Journal of Political Economy | 2016 | 124(1): 105-159

LINKS

ABSTRACT
Adaptation is the only strategy that is guaranteed to be part of the world’s climate strategy. Using the most comprehensive set of data files ever compiled on mortality and its determinants over the course of the 20th century, this paper makes two primary discoveries. First, we find that the mortality effect of an extremely hot day declined by about 80% between 1900-1959 and 1960-2004. As a consequence, days with temperatures exceeding 90°F were responsible for about 600 premature fatalities annually in the 1960-2004 period, compared to the approximately 3,600 premature fatalities that would have occurred if the temperature-mortality relationship from before 1960 still prevailed. Second, the adoption of residential air conditioning (AC) explains essentially the entire decline in the temperature-mortality relationship. In contrast, increased access to electricity and health care seem not to affect mortality on extremely hot days. Residential AC appears to be both the most promising technology to help poor countries mitigate the temperature related mortality impacts of climate change and, because fossil fuels are the least expensive source of energy, a technology whose proliferation will speed up the rate of climate change.

Success is Something to Sneeze At: Influenza Mortality in Cities that Participate in the Super Bowl

TITLE
Success is Something to Sneeze At: Influenza Mortality in Cities that Participate in the Super Bowl

AUTHORS
Stoecker, Charles, Nicholas Sanders, & Alan Barreca

STATUS
American Journal of Health Economics | 2016 | 2(1): 125–143

LINKS

ABSTRACT
Using county-level Vital Statistics of the United States data from 1974-2009, we employ a differences- in-differences framework comparing influenza mortality rates in Super Bowl-participating counties to non-participants. Having a local team in the Super Bowl causes an 18% increase in influenza deaths for the population over age 65, with evidence suggesting one mechanism is increased local socialization. Effects are most pronounced in years when the dominant influenza strain is more virulent, or when the Super Bowl occurs closer to the peak of influenza season. Mitigating influenza transmission at gatherings related to large spectator events could have substantial returns for public health.

Heaping-Induced Bias in Regression Discontinuity Designs

Title
Heaping-Induced Bias in Regression Discontinuity Designs

AUTHORS
Barreca, Alan, Jason Lindo, & Glen Waddell

STATUS
Economic Inquiry | 2016 | 54(1): 268–293

LINK

ABSTRACT
This study uses Monte Carlo simulations to demonstrate that regression-discontinuity designs arrive at biased estimates when attributes related to outcomes predict heaping in the running variable. After showing that our usual diagnostics are poorly suited to identifying this type of problem, we provide alternatives. We also demonstrate how the magnitude and direction of the bias varies with bandwidth choice and the location of the data heaps relative to the treatment threshold. Finally, we discuss approaches to correcting for this type of problem before considering these issues in several non-simulated environments.