DP13603 Inexpensive Heating Reduces Winter Mortality

Author(s): Janjala Chirakijja, Seema Jayachandran, Pinchuan Ong
Publication Date: March 2019
Date Revised: March 2019
Keyword(s): energy poverty, energy prices, fuel poverty, weather-related mortality, winter mortality
JEL(s): I1, J14, Q41
Programme Areas: Public Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=13603

This paper examines how the price of home heating affects mortality in the US. Exposure to cold is one reason that mortality peaks in winter, and a higher heating price increases exposure to cold by reducing heating use. It also raises energy bills, which could affect health by decreasing other health-promoting 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 versus electricity. We find that a lower heating price reduces winter mortality, driven mostly by cardiovascular and respiratory causes.