Temperature shocks and economic growth: Evidence from the last half century

Melissa Dell*, Benjamin F. Jones, Benjamin A. Olken

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

574 Scopus citations


This paper uses historical fluctuations in temperature within countries to identify its effects on aggregate economic outcomes. We find three primary results. First, higher temperatures substantially reduce economic growth in poor countries. Second, higher temperatures may reduce growth rates, not just the level of output. Third, higher temperatures have wide-ranging effects, reducing agricultural output, industrial output, and political stability. These findings inform debates over climate's role in economic development and suggest the possibility of substantial negative impacts of higher temperatures on poor countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-95
Number of pages30
JournalAmerican Economic Journal: Macroeconomics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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