Robert Elliot is Professor of Economics at the University of Birmingham. Robert will be discussing the paper Impacts of Wildfire Smoke Exposure on Excess Mortality and Later-Life Socioeconomic Outcomes: The Great Fire of 1910.


The Great Fire of 1910 in the northwestern United States is one of the largest wildfires on record, having burnt over 1.2 million hectares. This paper examines the short- and long-term impact of fire-sourced smoke pollution on children, combining historical data with an advanced smoke emission and dispersion modelling framework. The econometric results indicate a 119% increase in excess mortality during the fire week and later-life impacts on some socioeconomic status scores in 1930. This research offers novel insights into wildfire smoke repercussions on health and long-run human capital formation in a setting where avoidance behaviour was minimal.

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