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.