Not so fast: What if people who live in hot places don’t mind hot weather?
It seems such an obvious statement as to border on being silly. Yet it has real consequences when trying to figure out the economic impact of global warming in the U.S.
People, of course, choose where to live based partly on climate. Folks depressed by days without rays move to sun-soaked cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas. Those who break out in rashes when temperatures rise settle in the cooler environs of, say, Portland, Maine, or Juneau, Alaska. Any assessment of the economic impact of climate change should take these kinds of regional preferences into account.
Will the quality of life of heat-hating northerners be hurt more by global warming than that of sun-seeking southerners?
Are U.S. households willing to pay more to avoid heat than to avoid cold?
The answers to these questions are important inputs into assessing how Americans will be affected by global warming.
Four economists — Ryan Kellogg and Walter Graff of the Energy Institute along with David Albouy and Hendrik Wolff — are spending the last of the dog days of summer answering these questions. Stay tuned for an update when autumn rolls around.