65 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2012 Last revised: 25 Aug 2015
Date Written: January 10, 2015
This paper examines the temperature-mortality relationship over the course of the 20th century US both for its own interest and to identify potentially useful adaptations for coming decades. There are three primary findings. First, the mortality impact of days with mean temperature exceeding 80° F declined by 75%. Almost the entire decline occurred after 1960. Second, the diffusion of residential air conditioning (AC) explains essentially the entire decline in hot day related fatalities. Third, using Dubin-McFadden’s discrete-continuous model, the present value of US consumer surplus from the introduction of residential AC is estimated to be $85 to $188 billion ($2012).
Keywords: climate change, health, adaptation, extreme temperature, air conditioning, mortality
JEL Classification: I10, I12, I18, Q54, N31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Barreca, Alan I. and Clay, Karen and Deschenes, Olivier and Greenstone, Michael and Shapiro, Joseph S., Adapting to Climate Change: The Remarkable Decline in the U.S. Temperature-Mortality Relationship Over the 20th Century (January 10, 2015). Journal of Political Economy, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2192245 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2192245