The Effect of Weather on Mortality in Russia: What if People Adapt?

(Revision requested by Journal of Environmental Economics and Management)

The response to climate change is likely to involve a host of short- and long-run adaptation strategies. Previous research has focused on specific adaptation responses: e.g. change in electricity use, time allocation change. Little is known about overall adaptation response when all potential adaptation techniques are taken into account. In this paper I construct predictions for the climate change impact on mortality in Russia while accounting for a general adaptation response. Namely, using regional monthly mortality and daily temperature data, I estimate a flexible non-parametric relation between weather and mortality. I find that people are better adapted to temperatures that they have been exposed to more often: damages from high temperatures are smaller for regions where the average summer temperature is higher and damages from low temperatures are lower in regions where winters are usually more severe. On the basis of these estimates I propose a way to account for general adaptation response to climate change: If some currently cold region were to regularly experience high temperatures in the future, its response would be similar to the response of warm regions that currently experience such high temperatures on a regular basis. Because the analysis involves observations from a single country it is possible that adaptation would be similar across regions. I illustrate this approach constructing predictions for the impact of climate change on mortality in Russia using business-as-usual temperature predictions from climate change models. No-adaptation specification predicts a one percent increase in mortality by 2070-2099. However, when a broad adaptation response is taken into account my model predicts a decrease in mortality by 0.7 percent by 2070-2099. 

Toxic Truth: Lead and Fertility

(with Karen Clay and Edson Severnini) NBER Working Paper #24607 and IZA Working Paper #11541.

Using U.S county level data on lead in air for 1978-1988 and lead in topsoil in the 2000s, this paper examines the causal impact of lead exposure on a critical human function with societal implications – fertility. Using instrumental variables, we find that reductions in airborne lead between 1978 and 1988 increased fertility rates and that higher lead in topsoil decreased fertility rates in the 2000s. The latter finding is particularly concerning, because it suggests that lead may continue to impair fertility today, both in the United States and in other countries that have significant amounts of lead in topsoil.

The Short-Run and Long-Run Effects of Resources on Economic Outcomes: Evidence From the United States 1936-2015

 (with Karen Clay) NBER Working Paper #24695.

This paper draws on a new state-level panel dataset and a model of domestic Dutch disease to examine the short-run and long-run effects of oil & natural gas, coal, and agricultural land endowments on state economies during 1936-2015. Using a flexible shift-share estimation approach, where the shift is national resource employment and the share is state resource endowment, we find that different resources had different short-run effects in different time periods, across increases and decreases in resource employment, and across different outcomes. Using long differences, we find that long-run population growth was an important margin of adjustment over 1936-2015. States with larger coal and agricultural endowments per square mile experienced significantly slower population growth than states with smaller endowments per square mile. Resource endowments had no effect on long-run growth in per capita income.

The Legacy Lead Deposition in Soils and Its Impact on Cognitive Function in Preschool-Aged Children in the U.S.

(with Karen Clay and Edson Severnini)

Using U.S. county level data on lead in topsoil in the 2000s, and individual level data on attributes of preschool-aged children from the U.S. Census 2000, this paper examines the causal impact of lead exposure on cognitive ability. Using an instrumental variable approach relying on the 1944 Interstate Highway System Plan, we find that higher lead in topsoil increases considerably the probability of 5-year-old boys experiencing cognitive difficulties such as learning, remembering, concentrating, or making decisions, due to a physical, mental, or emotional condition. This is a concerning finding because it suggests that lead may continue to impair cognition today, both in the United States and in other countries that have significant amounts of lead in topsoil.

Adaptation to Climate Change through Migration

In this paper I study migration as an adaptation mechanism to climate change. I estimate a discrete location choice model, in which households choose residence locations on the basis of potential earnings, moving costs, climate amenities, and population density. I treat population density as endogenous using geological structure as an instrument. This model allows me to estimate counterfactual migratory responses and welfare changes resulting from non-marginal changes in temperature, such as these predicted by most climate models. I also account for general equilibrium effects on population densities arising from individual migration decisions. I find that the costs of climate change are likely to be quite large. In the absence of migration, American households would require their incomes to increase by 20-30 percent on average to attain their present day level of utility. The distribution of those costs is uneven across geographical locations. Some areas in the South would require more than 50 percent increases in terms of current incomes, while some northern locations actually see benefits around 20 percent. Allowing for migratory responses decrease those extremes considerably because of the resulting shifts in population densities.  For the hardest hit areas, migration would reduce the costs by more than 10 percent (4-5 percentage points). Areas benefiting the most from climate change without migration would see their benefits reduced due to migratory inflows from other locations. 

International Politics and Oil Trade: Evidence from Russian Firms

(with Kevin K.Tsui and Sergey Mityakov)

We assess the impact of political relations on crude oil exports from Russia using unique firm- level data. We find that a worsening in political relations between Russia and an oil-importing country causes a considerable reduction in oil shipments by Russian oil exporters into that country, the effect being stronger for state-owned companies. This reduction adversely affects the importing country because its total oil and energy imports decline. Such disruption is also costly for Russian oil-exporting companies, as their sales, assets, and profitability decline. These results emphasize considerable costs of political impediments to trade in modern globalized world. 


Long Term Effect of Polluton on Children’s Health: Evidence from Russia

Temperature and Health Outcomes: Evidence from Moscow Ambulance Daily Calls Data

Supply-Side Constrains of Adaptation to Climate Change: Air Conditioners Purchases during 2010 Heat Wave in Russia

© Margarita Portnykh 2018