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

65 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2012 Last revised: 25 Aug 2015

See all articles by Alan I. Barreca

Alan I. Barreca

UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Karen Clay

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Olivier Deschenes

University of California, Santa Barbara - College of Letters & Science - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Michael Greenstone

University of Chicago - Department of Economics; Becker Friedman Institute for Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Joseph S. Shapiro

University of California, Berkeley; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 10, 2015

Abstract

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

Barreca, Alan I. and Clay, Karen B. 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

Alan I. Barreca

UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability ( email )

Los Angeles, CA
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Karen B. Clay

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Olivier Deschenes

University of California, Santa Barbara - College of Letters & Science - Department of Economics ( email )

UC Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Michael Greenstone (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Department of Economics

1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Becker Friedman Institute for Economics ( email )

Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Joseph S. Shapiro

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

HOME PAGE: http://joseph-s-shapiro.com

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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