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Maybe Next Month? Temperature Shocks and Dynamic Adjustments in Birth Rates

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Listed:
  • Alan Barreca

    (University of California-Los Angeles
    IZA Institute of Labor Economics
    National Bureau of Economic Research)

  • Olivier Deschenes

    (IZA Institute of Labor Economics
    National Bureau of Economic Research
    University of California–Santa Barbara)

  • Melanie Guldi

    (University of Central Florida)

Abstract

We estimate the effects of temperature shocks on birth rates in the United States between 1931 and 2010. We find that days with a mean temperature above 80°F cause a large decline in birth rates 8 to 10 months later. Unlike prior studies, we demonstrate that the initial decline is followed by a partial rebound in births over the next few months, implying that populations mitigate some of the fertility cost by shifting conception month. This shift helps explain the observed peak in late-summer births in the United States. We also present new evidence that hot weather most likely harms fertility via reproductive health as opposed to sexual activity. Historical evidence suggests that air conditioning could be used to substantially offset the fertility costs of high temperatures.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan Barreca & Olivier Deschenes & Melanie Guldi, 2018. "Maybe Next Month? Temperature Shocks and Dynamic Adjustments in Birth Rates," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 55(4), pages 1269-1293, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:55:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s13524-018-0690-7
    DOI: 10.1007/s13524-018-0690-7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Chen, Xi & Tan, Chih Ming & Zhang, Xiaobo & Zhang, Xin, 2020. "The Effects of Prenatal Exposure to Temperature Extremes on Birth Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 12917, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Hanlon, W. Walker & Hansen, Casper Worm & Kantor, Jake, 2021. "Temperature, Disease, and Death in London: Analyzing Weekly Data for the Century from 1866 to 1965," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 40-80, March.
    4. Jones, Benjamin A., 2019. "Infant health impacts of freshwater algal blooms: Evidence from an invasive species natural experiment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 36-59.
    5. Mullins, Jamie T. & White, Corey, 2019. "Temperature and mental health: Evidence from the spectrum of mental health outcomes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    6. Lee, Wang-Sheng & Li, Ben G., 2021. "Extreme weather and mortality: Evidence from two millennia of Chinese elites," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    7. Xi Chen & Chih Ming Tan & Xiaobo Zhang & Xin Zhang, 2020. "The effects of prenatal exposure to temperature extremes on birth outcomes: the case of China," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 33(4), pages 1263-1302, October.
    8. Geruso, Michael & Spears, Dean, 2018. "Heat, Humidity, and Infant Mortality in the Developing World," IZA Discussion Papers 11717, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Tamás Hajdu & Gábor Hajdu, 2020. "Temperature, climate change, and human conception rates: Evidence from Hungary," CERS-IE WORKING PAPERS 2017, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies.
    10. Tamás Hajdu & Gábor Hajdu, 2019. "Ambient temperature and sexual activity: Evidence from time use surveys," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 40(12), pages 307-318.
    11. Conway, Karen Smith & Trudeau, Jennifer, 2019. "Sunshine, fertility and racial disparities," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 18-39.
    12. Tamás Hajdu & Gábor Hajdu, 2021. "Post-conception heat exposure increases clinically unobserved pregnancy losses," CERS-IE WORKING PAPERS 2104, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies.
    13. Sellers, Samuel & Gray, Clark, 2019. "Climate shocks constrain human fertility in Indonesia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 357-369.
    14. Thiede, Brian C. & Chen, Joyce & Mueller, Valerie & Jia, Yuanyuan & Hultquist, Carolynne, 2020. "It’s Raining Babies? Flooding and Fertility Choices in Bangladesh," SocArXiv cz482, Center for Open Science.

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