Mortality inequality, temperature and public health provision: evidence from Mexico

In this paper the authors examine the heterogeneous impact of temperature shocks on mortality across income groups in Mexico using individual death records (1998–2010) and Census data.

Random variation in temperatures is responsible for the death of around 45,000 people every year in Mexico, representing 8 per cent of deaths in the country. However, 88 per cent of weather-related deaths are induced by mildly cold days (of 10–20°C), while extremely hot days (over 32°C) kill a comparatively low number of people (less than 400 annually). Moreover, mildly cold temperatures only kill in the bottom half of the income distribution.

The authors show that the Seguro Popular, a universal healthcare policy progressively rolled out during the sample period, reduced cold-related mortality among the poor by about 30 per cent.