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Title: Temperature, Disease, and Death in London: Analyzing Weekly Data for the Century from 1866 to 1965
Using novel weekly mortality data for London spanning 1866-1965, we analyze the changing relationship between temperature and mortality as the city developed. Our main results show that warm weeks led to elevated mortality in the late nineteenth century, mainly due to infant deaths from digestive diseases. However, this pattern largely disappeared after WWI as infant digestive diseases became less prevalent. The resulting change in the temperature-mortality relationship meant that thousands of heat-related deaths—equal to 0.9-1.4 percent of all deaths— were averted. These findings show that improving the disease environment can dramatically alter the impact of high temperature on mortality.
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The Journal of Economic History
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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