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Adaptation to Climate Change in Preindustrial Iceland

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  • Matthew A. Turner
  • Jeffrey S. Rosenthal
  • Jian Chen
  • Chunyan Hao

Abstract

We investigate the effect of climate change on population growth in 18th and 19th century Iceland. We find that annual temperature changes help determine the population growth rate in pre-industrial Iceland: a year 1 degree Celsius cooler than average drives down population growth rates by 1.14%. We also find that 18th and 19th century Icelanders adapt to prolonged changes in climate after 20 years. These adaptations reduce the short run effect of annual change in temperature by about 60%. Finally, a 1 degree Celsius sustained decrease in temperature decreases the steady state population by 10% to 26%.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew A. Turner & Jeffrey S. Rosenthal & Jian Chen & Chunyan Hao, 2012. "Adaptation to Climate Change in Preindustrial Iceland," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 250-255, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:3:p:250-55
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Olmstead,Alan L. & Rhode,Paul W., 2008. "Creating Abundance," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521673877, December.
    2. Richard Hornbeck, 2010. "Barbed Wire: Property Rights and Agricultural Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(2), pages 767-810.
    3. Richard Hornbeck & Pinar Keskin, 2011. "The Evolving Impact of the Ogallala Aquifer: Agricultural Adaptation to Groundwater and Climate," NBER Working Papers 17625, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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