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American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics: Vol. 4 No. 3 (July 2012)

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Temperature Shocks and Economic Growth: Evidence from the Last Half Century

Article Citation

Dell, Melissa, Benjamin F. Jones, and Benjamin A. Olken. 2012. "Temperature Shocks and Economic Growth: Evidence from the Last Half Century." American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 4(3): 66-95.

DOI: 10.1257/mac.4.3.66

Abstract

This paper uses historical fluctuations in temperature within countries to identify its effects on aggregate economic outcomes. We find three primary results. First, higher temperatures substantially reduce economic growth in poor countries. Second, higher temperatures may reduce growth rates, not just the level of output. Third, higher temperatures have wide-ranging effects, reducing agricultural output, industrial output, and political stability. These findings inform debates over climate's role in economic development and suggest the possibility of substantial negative impacts of higher temperatures on poor countries. (JEL E23, O13, Q54, Q56)

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Authors

Dell, Melissa (MIT)
Jones, Benjamin F. (Northwestern U)
Olken, Benjamin A. (MIT)

JEL Classifications

E23: Macroeconomics: Production
O13: Economic Development: Agriculture; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Other Primary Products
Q54: Climate; Natural Disasters; Global Warming
Q56: Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics


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