Hybrid seminar: Health Implications of Building Retrofits: Evidence from a Population-Wide Weatherization Program
On Thursday March 30th 2023, Juan Palacios (Maastricht University / MIT) will give a presentation titled: "Health Implications of Building Retrofits: Evidence from a Population-Wide Weatherization Program." To attend this seminar, please send an e-mail to Simone Pailer (S.Pailer@cpb.nl). You will be registered at the reception or will receive a Teams-invitation via Outlook.
What is the impact of housing upgrades on occupant health? Although economists and policymakers are certain about the health implications of housing upgrades, empirical evidence is largely missing or based on small-scale experiments in developing countries. This study provides the first population-representative quasi-experimental estimates based on a largescale renovation program which renovated half of the East German housing portfolio in the aftermath of the German reunification. During the 1990s, the German government devoted significant financial resources to upgrade the insulation and heating systems of over 3.6 million dwellings in East Germany. We link the renovations to individual demand for health care of occupants using the German Socio-Economic household Panel (SOEP), as well as administrative records on the universe of hospital admissions in Germany. Exploiting the staggered roll-out of the renovation program, our results show that an improvement in housing quality enhances the health of vulnerable age groups. Evidence from hospital records suggests that the reduction in hospitalization is due to a lower risk of cardiovascular problems for older individuals (45 years or older), and is mainly driven by days with extremely high and low ambient temperatures. Our findings have strong policy implications and can enrich cost-benefit analysis of public investments in weatherization programs.