Friday, December 28, 2007

Let's all move to California

At last, someone else is reading NBER working papers so I can quote the popularization. According to ENN, economists Enrico Moretti (UC Berkeley) and Oliver Deschenes (UC Santa Barbara) found that
Deaths linked to extreme cold account for 0.8 percent of the nation's annual death rate and outnumber those attributed to leukemia, murder and chronic liver disease combined. ...

The study also says that demographic shifts from colder climes to warmer ones -- for reasons such as better jobs, cheaper housing and sunshine -- appear to delay an estimated 4,600 deaths a year. The researchers also said that over the past 30 years, longevity gains associated with geographic mobility accounted for between 4 and 7 percent of the increases in life expectancy in the United States. ...

U.S. mortality rates peak in December and January and are at their lowest points from mid-July to mid-August. Cities recording the biggest numbers of cold weather-related deaths include Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis and Cleveland.

Nobody's written an engrossing sociology book on cold waves. Sounds like they should. And maybe Mayor Daley should have one of his environmental geeks draw up a cost-benefit on the urban heat island. The full 58-page paper is here.

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