wp09-2021.pdf (1.38 MB)
Inexpensive Heating Reduces Winter Mortality
journal contributionposted on 2022-11-10, 03:56 authored by Janjala Chirakijja, Seema Jayachandran, Pinchuan Ong
This paper examines how the price of home heating affects mortality in the US. Exposure to cold is one of the reasons that mortality peaks in winter, and a higher heating price increases exposure to cold by reducing heating use. In addition, a higher price raises energy bills, which could also affect health by decreasing other healthpromoting spending. Our empirical approach combines spatial variation in the energy source used for home heating and temporal variation in the national prices of natural gas and electricity. We find that a lower heating price reduces winter mortality, driven mostly by cardiovascular and respiratory causes. The effect is especially large in highpoverty communities.