Adapting to Climate Change: The Remarkable Decline in the US Temperature-Mortality Relationship over the Twentieth Century
Barreca, A., Clay, K., Deschenes, O., Greenstone, M. and J.S. Shapiro (2016). Adapting to Climate Change: The Remarkable Decline in the US Temperature-Mortality Relationship over the Twentieth Century. Journal of Political Economy 124:1, 105-159.
Published January 5, 2016
This paper examines the temperature-mortality relationship over the course of the 20th century
US both for its own interest and to identify potentially useful adaptations for coming decades.
There are three primary findings. First, the mortality impact of days with mean temperature
exceeding 80° F declined by 75%. Almost the entire decline occurred after 1960. Second, the
diffusion of residential air conditioning (AC) explains essentially the entire decline in hot day
related fatalities. Third, using Dubin-McFadden’s discrete-continuous model, the present value
of US consumer surplus from the introduction of residential AC is estimated to be $85 to $188