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Climate change, humidity, and mortality in the United States

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  • Barreca, Alan I.

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Barreca, Alan I., 2012. "Climate change, humidity, and mortality in the United States," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 19-34.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:63:y:2012:i:1:p:19-34
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2011.07.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Olivier Deschênes & Michael Greenstone, 2011. "Climate Change, Mortality, and Adaptation: Evidence from Annual Fluctuations in Weather in the US," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 152-185, October.
    2. Martens, W. J. M., 1998. "Climate change, thermal stress and mortality changes," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 331-344, February.
    3. Richard Tol, 2002. "Estimates of the Damage Costs of Climate Change. Part 1: Benchmark Estimates," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 21(1), pages 47-73, January.
    4. Richard Tol, 2002. "Estimates of the Damage Costs of Climate Change, Part II. Dynamic Estimates," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 21(2), pages 135-160, February.
    5. Grossman, Michael, 2000. "The human capital model," Handbook of Health Economics,in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 347-408 Elsevier.
    6. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2004.048926_7 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Nicholas Stern, 2008. "The Economics of Climate Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 1-37, May.
    8. Wolfram Schlenker & Michael J. Roberts, 2008. "Estimating the Impact of Climate Change on Crop Yields: The Importance of Nonlinear Temperature Effects," NBER Working Papers 13799, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mortality; Temperature; Humidity; Climate change;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • Q40 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - General
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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