David Molitor

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
340 Wohlers Hall
1206 S. Sixth Street
Champaign, IL 61820
Tel: 217/244-0504

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
NBER Program Affiliations: HC , EEE
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow

NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 2017Adaptation and the Mortality Effects of Temperature Across U.S. Climate Regions
with Garth Heutel, Nolan H. Miller: w23271
We study heterogeneity in the relationship between temperature and mortality across U.S. climate regions and its implications for climate adaptation. Using exogenous variation in temperature and data on all elderly Medicare beneficiaries from 1992 – 2011, we show that the mortality effect of hot days is much larger in cool ZIP codes than in warm ones and that the opposite is true for cold days. We attribute this heterogeneity to historical climate adaptation. As one adaptive mechanism, air conditioning penetration explains nearly all of the regional heterogeneity in heat-driven morality but not cold-driven mortality. Combining these results with projected changes in local temperature distributions by the end of the century, we show that failure to incorporate climate heterogeneity in tempe...
November 2016The Mortality and Medical Costs of Air Pollution: Evidence from Changes in Wind Direction
with Tatyana Deryugina, Garth Heutel, Nolan H. Miller, Julian Reif: w22796
We estimate the effect of acute fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) exposure on mortality and health care utilization among the US elderly, using a novel instrument for air pollution: changes in the local wind direction. We find that increases in daily PM 2.5 concentrations raise three-day county-level mortality, hospitalizations, and inpatient spending. We then develop a new methodology that uses machine learning to estimate the number of life-years lost due to PM 2.5. Our estimate is much smaller than one calculated using traditional methods, which do not adequately account for the relatively low life expectancy of those killed by pollution.
August 2016The Evolution of Physician Practice Styles: Evidence from Cardiologist Migration
Physician treatment choices for observably similar patients vary dramatically across regions. This paper exploits cardiologist migration to disentangle the role of physician- specific factors such as preferences and learned behavior versus environment-level factors such as hospital capacity and productivity spillovers on physician behavior. Physicians starting in the same region and subsequently moving to dissimilar regions practice similarly before the move. After the move, physician behavior in the first year changes by 0.6-0.8 percentage points for each percentage point change in practice environment, with no further changes over time. This suggests environment factors explain between 60-80 percent of regional disparities in physician behavior.
January 2015The Local Influence of Pioneer Investigators on Technology Adoption: Evidence from New Cancer Drugs
with Leila Agha: w20878
Local opinion leaders may play a key role in easing information frictions associated with technology adoption. This paper analyzes the influence of physician investigators who lead clinical trials for new cancer drugs. By comparing diffusion patterns across 21 new cancer drugs, we separate correlated regional demand for new technology from information spillovers. Patients in the lead investigator's region are initially 36% more likely to receive the new drug, but utilization converges within four years. We also find that “superstar ” physician authors, measured by trial role or citation history, have broader influence than less prominent authors.
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