Temperature and Well-Being in the U.S.: The Sub-Clinical Implications of Global Warming

Clemens Noelke, Harvard University
Corsi Daniel, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Marcia Jimenez, Brown University
Ian Sue Wing, Boston University

This study uses data on nearly 1.9 Million Americans to quantify the impact of short-term temperature variation on a comprehensive measure of emotional well-being. Our data include daily well-being indicators, e.g., feelings of happiness, anger or stress, for approximately 1000 respondents aged 18+ over the period from 2008 to 2013. We identify non-linear temperature effects from temperature variation within Zipcode Tabulation Areas. We find robust evidence that temperature above 70F causes statistically significant reductions in emotional well-being, with temperature in excess of 90F resulting in a well-being loss of 5% of a standard deviation. In contrast, temperatures below 20F increase well-being. Temperature effects at both ends of the distribution are driven by feelings of stress and tiredness, which increase at hot temperatures and diminish at cold temperatures. Using information on future climate conditions, we provide initial evidence that global warming will reduce emotional well-being across the contiguous US.

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Presented in Poster Session 6: Migration and Urbanization/Population, Development, and the Environment