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


  • Jiyoon Kim
  • Ajin Lee
  • Maya Rossin-Slater


We use temperature variation within narrowly-defined geographic and demographic cells to show that exposure to extreme heat increases the risk of maternal hospitalization during pregnancy for potentially life-threatening causes. We find that this effect is driven by women residing in historically cooler rather than hotter counties, suggesting that adaptation plays a role in mitigating the health impacts of weather shocks. We also find that the heat-induced deterioration in maternal pregnancy health is larger for black than for white mothers, suggesting that projected increases in extreme heat over the next century may further exacerbate the black-white maternal health gap.

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  • Jiyoon Kim & Ajin Lee & Maya Rossin-Slater, 2019. "What to Expect When It Gets Hotter: The Impacts of Prenatal Exposure to Extreme Heat on Maternal Health," NBER Working Papers 26384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26384
    Note: CH EEE EH

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Lam & Jeffrey Miron, 1996. "The effects of temperature on human fertility," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 33(3), pages 291-305, August.
    2. Corey White, 2017. "The Dynamic Relationship between Temperature and Morbidity," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(4), pages 1155-1198.
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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

    JEL classification:

    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - General

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