NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Temperature, Disease, and Death in London: Analyzing Weekly Data for the Century from 1866-1965

W. Walker Hanlon, Casper Worm Hansen, Jake W. Kantor

NBER Working Paper No. 27333
Issued in June 2020
NBER Program(s):Development of the American Economy

Using weekly mortality data for London spanning 1866-1965, we analyze the changing relationship between temperature and mortality as the city developed. Our results show that both warm and cold weeks were associated with elevated mortality in the late 19th-century, but heat effects, due mainly to infant deaths from digestive diseases, largely disappeared after WWI. The resulting change in the temperature-mortality relationship meant that thousands of heat-related deaths–equal to 0.8-1.3 percent of all deaths–were averted. Our findings also indicate that a series of hot years in the 1890s substantially changed the timing of the infant mortality decline in London.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27333

 
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