Spurious Weather Effects

33 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2019

See all articles by Jo Thori Lind

Jo Thori Lind

University of Oslo - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Date Written: March 2019


Rainfall is exogenous to human actions and hence popular as an exogenous source of variation. But it is also spatially correlated. This can generate spurious relationships between rainfall and other spatially correlated outcomes. As an illustration, rainfall on almost any day of the year has seemingly high predictive power of electoral turnout in Norwegian municipalities. In Monte Carlo analyses, I find that standard tests reject true null hypotheses in as much as 99% of cases. Standard approaches to estimating consistent standard errors do not solve the problem. Instead, I suggest controlling for spatial and spatiotemporal trends using multidimensional polynomials.

Keywords: electoral turnout, rainfall, spatial correlation, spurious relationship

Suggested Citation

Lind, Jo Thori, Spurious Weather Effects (March 2019). Journal of Regional Science, Vol. 59, Issue 2, pp. 322-354, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3346012 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jors.12417

Jo Thori Lind (Contact Author)

University of Oslo - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 1095 Blindern
N-0317 Oslo

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679

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