Tag Archives: mortality

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.

Convergence in Adaptation to Climate Change: Evidence from High Temperatures and Mortality, 1900-2004

TITLE
Convergence in Adaptation to Climate Change: Evidence from High Temperatures and Mortality, 1900-2004

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

STATUS
American Economic Review Papers & Proceedings | 2015 | 105(5): 247-51

LINK

ABSTRACT
This paper combines panel data on monthly mortality rates of US states and daily temperature variables for over a century (1900-2004) to explore the regional evolution of the temperature-mortality relationship and documents two key findings. First, the impact of extreme heat on mortality is notably smaller in states that more frequently experience extreme heat. Second, the difference in the heat-mortality relationship between hot and cold states declined over 1900-2004, though it persisted through 2004. Continuing differences in the mortality consequences of hot days suggests that health motivated adaptation to climate change may be slow and costly around the world.

Coal, Smoke, and Death: Bituminous Coal and American Home Heating

TITLE
Coal, Smoke, and Death: Bituminous Coal and American Home Heating

AUTHORS
Barreca, Alan, Karen Clay, & Joel Tarr

STATUS
NBER Working Paper | 2014 | Currently revising

LINK

ABSTRACT
Air pollution was severe in many urban areas of the United States in the first half of the twentieth century, in part due to the burning of bituminous coal for heat. We estimate the effects of this bituminous coal consumption on mortality rates in the U.S. during the mid 20th century. Coal consumption varied considerably during the 20th century due to coal-labor strikes, wartime oil and gas restrictions, and the expansion of gas pipelines, among other reasons. To mitigate the influence of confounding factors, we use a triple-differences identification strategy that relies on variation in coal consumption at the state-year-season level. It exploits the fact that coal consumption for heating was highest in the winter and uses within-state changes in mortality in non-winter months as an additional control group. Our estimates suggest that reductions in the use of bituminous coal for heating between 1945 and 1960 decreased winter all-age mortality by 1.25 percent and winter infant mortality by 3.27 percent, saving 1,923 all age lives per winter month and 310 infant lives per winter month. Our estimates are likely to be a lower bound, since they primarily capture short-run relationships between coal and mortality.

Absolute Humidity, Temperature, and Influenza Mortality: 30 Years of County-Level Evidence from the United States

TITLE
Absolute Humidity, Temperature, and Influenza Mortality: 30 Years of County-Level Evidence from the United States

AUTHORS
Barreca, Alan, & Jay Shimshack

STATUS
American Journal of Epidemiology | 2012 | 176: S114-S122.

LINK

ABSTRACT
Recent research exploring associations between environmental factors and influenza outcomes has devoted substantial attention to the role of absolute humidity. However, the existing literature provides very little quantitative epidemiologic evidence on the relations between absolute humidity and other weather variables and influenza outcomes in human populations. In the present study, the authors helped fill this gap by analyzing longitudinal weather and influenza mortality data, observed every month between January 1973 and December 2002, for each of 359 urban US counties. A flexible regression model was used to simultaneously explore fully nonlinear relations between absolute humidity and influenza outcomes and temperature and influenza outcomes. Results indicated that absolute humidity was an especially critical determinant of observed human influenza mortality, even after controlling for temperature. There were important nonlinear relations; humidity levels below approximately 6 g of water vapor per kilogram of air were associated with increases in influenza mortality. Model predictions suggested that approximately half of the average seasonal differences in US influenza mortality can be explained by seasonal differences in absolute humidity alone. Temperature modestly influenced influenza mortality as well, although results were less robust.

Climate Change, Humidity, and Mortality in the United States

TITLE
Climate Change, Humidity, and Mortality in the United States

AUTHOR
Barreca, Alan

STATUS
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management | 2012 | 63(1): 19-34.

LINK

ABSTRACT
This paper estimates the effects of humidity and temperature on mortality rates in the United States (c. 1973–2002) in order to provide an insight into the potential health impacts of climate change. I find that humidity, like temperature, is an important determinant of mortality. Coupled with Hadley CM3 climate-change predictions, I project that mortality rates are likely to change little on the aggregate for the United States. However, distributional impacts matter: mortality rates are likely to decline in cold and dry areas, but increase in hot and humid areas. Further, accounting for humidity has important implications for evaluating these distributional effects.

The Long-Term Economic Impact of In Utero and Postnatal Exposure to Malaria

TITLE
The Long-Term Economic Impact of In Utero and Postnatal Exposure to Malaria

AUTHOR
Barreca, Alan

STATUS
Journal of Human Resources | 2010 | 45(4): 865-892

LINK

ABSTRACT
I use an instrumental-variables identification strategy and historical data from the United States to estimate the long-term economic impact of in utero and postnatal exposure to malaria. My research design matches adults in the 1960 Decennial Census to the malaria death rate in their respective state and year of birth. To address potential omitted-variables bias and measurement-error bias, I use variation in “malaria-ideal” temperatures to instrument for malaria exposure. My estimates indicate that in utero and postnatal exposure to malaria led to considerably lower levels of educational attainment and higher rates of poverty later in life.