EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Coal, Smoke, and Death: Bituminous Coal and American Home Heating

Alan Barreca (), Karen Clay () and Joel Tarr

No 19881, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: Air pollution was severe in many urban areas of the United States in the first half of the twentieth century, in part due to the burning of bituminous coal for heat. We estimate the effects of this bituminous coal consumption on mortality rates in the U.S. during the mid 20th century. Coal consumption varied considerably during the 20th century due to coal-labor strikes, wartime oil and gas restrictions, and the expansion of gas pipelines, among other reasons. To mitigate the influence of confounding factors, we use a triple-differences identification strategy that relies on variation in coal consumption at the state-year-season level. It exploits the fact that coal consumption for heating was highest in the winter and uses within-state changes in mortality in non-winter months as an additional control group. Our estimates suggest that reductions in the use of bituminous coal for heating between 1945 and 1960 decreased winter all-age mortality by 1.25 percent and winter infant mortality by 3.27 percent, saving 1,923 all age lives per winter month and 310 infant lives per winter month. Our estimates are likely to be a lower bound, since they primarily capture short-run relationships between coal and mortality.

JEL-codes: I18 N32 N52 Q53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ene, nep-hea, nep-his and nep-sog
Note: CH DAE EEE
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (14) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://www.nber.org/papers/w19881.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
Working Paper: Coal, Smoke, and Death: Bituminous Coal and American Home Heating (2014) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19881

Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
http://www.nber.org/papers/w19881

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ().

 
Page updated 2021-06-18
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19881