Tag Archives: temperature

Maybe Next Month? Temperature Shocks, Climate Change, and Dynamic Adjustments in Birth Rates

TITLE
Maybe Next Month? Temperature Shocks, Climate Change, and Dynamic Adjustments in Birth Rates

AUTHORS
Barreca, Alan, Olivier Deschenes, & Melanie Guldi

STATUS
NBER working paper | 2015 | Submitted

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ABSTRACT
Dynamic adjustments could be a useful strategy for mitigating the costs of acute environmental shocks when timing is not a strictly binding constraint. To investigate whether such adjustments could apply to fertility, we estimate the effects of temperature shocks on birth rates in the United States between 1931 and 2010. Our innovative approach allows for presumably random variation in the distribution of daily temperatures to affect birth rates up to 24 months into the future. We find that additional days above 80 °F cause a large decline in birth rates approximately 8 to 10 months later. The initial decline is followed by a partial rebound in births over the next few months implying that populations can mitigate the fertility cost of temperature shocks by shifting conception month. This dynamic adjustment helps explain the observed decline in birth rates during the spring and subsequent increase during the summer. The lack of a full rebound suggests that increased temperatures due to climate change may reduce population growth rates in the coming century. As an added cost, climate change will shift even more births to the summer months when third trimester exposure to dangerously high temperatures increases. Based on our analysis of historical changes in the temperature-fertility relationship, we conclude air conditioning could be used to substantially offset the fertility costs of climate change.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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.

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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.

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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

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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.