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Temperature and Income: Reconciling New Cross-Sectional and Panel Estimates


  • Melissa Dell
  • Benjamin F. Jones
  • Benjamin A. Olken


This paper presents novel evidence and analysis of the relationship between temperature and income. First, using sub-national data from 12 countries in the Americas, we provide new evidence that the negative cross-country relationship between temperature and income also exists within countries and even within states. Second, we provide a theoretical framework for reconciling the substantial, negative association between temperature and income in the cross-section with the even stronger short-run effects of temperature estimated by panel models. The theoretical framework suggests that half of the negative short-term effects of temperature may be offset in the long run through adaptation.

Suggested Citation

  • Melissa Dell & Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2009. "Temperature and Income: Reconciling New Cross-Sectional and Panel Estimates," NBER Working Papers 14680, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14680
    Note: EEE EFG

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dani Rodrik & Arvind Subramanian & Francesco Trebbi, 2004. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions Over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 131-165, June.
    2. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294.
    3. Matthew J. Higgins & Daniel Levy & Andrew T. Young, 2006. "Growth and Convergence across the United States: Evidence from County-Level Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 671-681, November.
    4. David Albouy, 2009. "What Are Cities Worth? Land Rents, Local Productivity, and the Capitalization of Amenity Values," NBER Working Papers 14981, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Caselli, Francesco & Esquivel, Gerardo & Lefort, Fernando, 1996. "Reopening the Convergence Debate: A New Look at Cross-Country Growth Empirics," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 363-389, September.
    6. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
    7. Melissa Dell & Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2008. "Climate Change and Economic Growth: Evidence from the Last Half Century," NBER Working Papers 14132, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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