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Using Weather Data and Climate Model Output in Economic Analyses of Climate Change

  • Maximilian Auffhammer
  • Solomon M. Hsiang
  • Wolfram Schlenker
  • Adam Sobel

Economists are increasingly using weather data and climate model output in analyses of the economic impacts of climate change. This article introduces weather data sets and climate models that are frequently used, discusses the most common mistakes economists make in using these products, and identifies ways to avoid these pitfalls. We first provide an introduction to weather data, including a summary of the types of datasets available, and then discuss five common pitfalls that empirical researchers should be aware of when using historical weather data as explanatory variables in econometric applications. We then provide a brief overview of climate models and discuss two common and significant errors often made by economists when climate model output is used to simulate the future impacts of climate change on an economic outcome of interest.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19087.

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Date of creation: May 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as M. Auffhammer & S. M. Hsiang & W. Schlenker & A. Sobel, 2013. "Using Weather Data and Climate Model Output in Economic Analyses of Climate Change," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, vol 7(2), pages 181-198.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19087
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  1. Solomon M. Hsiang & Daiju Narita, 2012. "Adaptation To Cyclone Risk: Evidence From The Global Cross-Section," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 3(02), pages 1250011-1-1.
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  8. Matthew E. Kahn, 2005. "The Death Toll from Natural Disasters: The Role of Income, Geography, and Institutions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 271-284, May.
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  10. Mendelsohn, Robert & Nordhaus, William D & Shaw, Daigee, 1994. "The Impact of Global Warming on Agriculture: A Ricardian Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 753-71, September.
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  12. Maximilian Auffhammer & Ryan Kellogg, 2011. "Clearing the Air? The Effects of Gasoline Content Regulation on Air Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2687-2722, October.
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