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Into the tropics: Temperature, mortality, and access to health care in Colombia

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  • Juliana Helo Sarmiento

Abstract

This paper analyzes the relationship between temperature, mortality, and adaptation opportunities in a tropical country. Such countries host almost 40% of the world's population, and face inherently different environmental, demographic, and socio-economic conditions than their counterparts in temperate areas. Using detailed data from all Colombian municipalities, I show that even at narrow temper- ature ranges, which are characteristic of the tropics, anomalously hot or cold days increase mortality. An additional day with mean temperature above 27°C (80.6°F) increases mortality rates by approximately 0.24 deaths per 100,000, equivalent to 0.7% of monthly death rates. Unlike temperate locations, I find that deaths attributed to infectious diseases and respiratory illnesses drive this relationship in the hot part of the distribution, mainly affecting children aged 0-9. These findings uncover new factors and populations at risk, and imply that the average person who dies after a hot temperature shock loses approximately 30 years of life. I also provide evidence that access to health care and quality of services could serve as a mediating factor between temperature and mortality.

Suggested Citation

  • Juliana Helo Sarmiento, 2022. "Into the tropics: Temperature, mortality, and access to health care in Colombia," Documentos CEDE 20127, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000089:020127
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    Cited by:

    1. Filomena, Mattia & Picchio, Matteo, 2023. "Unsafe temperatures, unsafe jobs: The impact of weather conditions on work-related injuries," GLO Discussion Paper Series 1280, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    2. David Molitor & Corey White, 2023. "Do Cities Mitigate or Exacerbate Environmental Damages to Health?," Monash Economics Working Papers 2023-25, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    3. Shaun McRae, 2023. "Residential Electricity Consumption and Adaptation to Climate Change by Colombian Households," Economics of Disasters and Climate Change, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 253-279, July.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Weather; Temperature; Mortality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - 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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