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What to Expect When It Gets Hotter: The Impacts of Prenatal Exposure to Extreme Heat on Maternal and Infant Health


  • Kim, Jiyoon

    (Elon University)

  • Lee, Ajin

    (Michigan State University)

  • Rossin-Slater, Maya

    (Stanford University)


We use temperature variation within narrowly-defined geographic and demographic cells to show that prenatal exposure to extreme heat increases the risk of maternal hospitalization during pregnancy, and that this effect is larger for black than for white mothers. At childbirth, heat-exposed mothers are more likely to have hypertension and have longer hospital stays. For infants, fetal exposure to extreme heat leads to a higher likelihood of dehydration at birth and hospital readmission in the first year of life. Our results provide new estimates of the health costs of climate change and identify environmental drivers of the black-white maternal health gap.

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  • Kim, Jiyoon & Lee, Ajin & Rossin-Slater, Maya, 2019. "What to Expect When It Gets Hotter: The Impacts of Prenatal Exposure to Extreme Heat on Maternal and Infant Health," IZA Discussion Papers 12685, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp12685

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Agarwal, Sumit & Qin, Yu & Shi, Luwen & Wei, Guoxu & Zhu, Hongjia, 2021. "Impact of temperature on morbidity: New evidence from China," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 109(C).
    2. Wang, Hai-jie & Tang, Kai, 2023. "Extreme climate, innovative ability and energy efficiency," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C).
    3. Olivier R de Bandt & Luc Jacolin & Thibault Lemaire, 2021. "Climate Change in Developing Countries: Global Warming Effects, Transmission Channels and Adaptation Policies," Working Papers hal-03948704, HAL.

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    More about this item


    extreme heat; maternal health; infant health;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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