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Inexpensive Heating Reduces Winter Mortality (WP-19-09)

Janjala Chirakijja, Seema Jayachandran, and Pinchuan Ong

This paper examines how the price of home heating affects mortality in the U.S. 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. The researchers’ 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. They find that a lower heating price reduces winter mortality, driven mostly by cardiovascular and respiratory causes.

Janjala Chirakijja, Lecturer, Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics, Monash University

Seema Jayachandran, Professor of Economics and IPR Fellow, Northwestern University

Pinchuan Ong, Northwestern University

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