NBER Publications by Solomon M. Hsiang

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

Working Papers and Chapters

December 2014Does the Environment Still Matter? Daily Temperature and Income in the United States
with Tatyana Deryugina: w20750
It is widely hypothesized that incomes in wealthy countries are insulated from environmental conditions because individuals have the resources needed to adapt to their environment. We test this idea in the wealthiest economy in human history. Using within-county variation in weather, we estimate the effect of daily temperature on annual income in United States counties over a 40-year period. We find that this single environmental parameter continues to play a large role in overall economic performance: productivity of individual days declines roughly 1.7% for each 1°C (1.8°F) increase in daily average temperature above 15°C (59°F). A weekday above 30°C (86°F) costs an average county $20 per person. Hot weekends have little effect. These estimates are net of many forms of adaptation, su...
October 2014Climate and Conflict
with Marshall Burke, Edward Miguel: w20598
Until recently, neither climate nor conflict have been core areas of inquiry within economics, but there has been an explosion of research on both topics in the past decade, with a particularly large body of research emerging at their intersection. In this review, we survey this literature on the interlinkages between climate and conflict, by necessity drawing from both economics and other disciplines given the inherent interdisciplinarity of research in this field. We consider many types of human conflict in the review, including both interpersonal conflict -- such as domestic violence, road rage, assault, murder, and rape -- and intergroup conflict -- including riots, ethnic violence, land invasions, gang violence, civil war and other forms of political instability, such as coups. We di...
July 2014The Causal Effect of Environmental Catastrophe on Long-Run Economic Growth: Evidence From 6,700 Cyclones
with Amir S. Jina: w20352
Does the environment have a causal effect on economic development? Using meteorological data, we reconstruct every country's exposure to the universe of tropical cyclones during 1950-2008. We exploit random within-country year-to-year variation in cyclone strikes to identify the causal effect of environmental disasters on long-run growth. We compare each country's growth rate to itself in the years immediately before and after exposure, accounting for the distribution of cyclones in preceding years. The data reject hypotheses that disasters stimulate growth or that short-run losses disappear following migrations or transfers of wealth. Instead, we find robust evidence that national incomes decline, relative to their pre-disaster trend, and do not recover within twenty years. Both rich and...
May 2013Using Weather Data and Climate Model Output in Economic Analyses of Climate Change
with Maximilian Auffhammer, Wolfram Schlenker, Adam Sobel: w19087
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 impac...

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