Between two extremes: temperature shocks and violence in Russia

Whilst global climate science states that an increase in frequency of extremely hot or cold days is one of the most challenging impacts of climate change, the impact of extreme temperature on human health remains understudied (IPCC, 2018).

Researchers based at IOS, Leibniz and NOVA SBE, Portugal examined social costs of climate change in Russia, or how extreme temperatures cause violent mortality across the country’s regions. They have studied datasets on temperature and violence in Russia, between the years 1989 and 2015, and found that temperature shocks have different impacts on people depending on their age and gender.

They found that extremely hot days lead to an increase in murders, with both female and male are more likely to be killed during the heat. Men are generally more victimised on a hot day than women, although, female are significantly more suffer from violence on weekends. This result is highly suggestive of the incidence of domestic violence, however, the data correlates extreme temperatures with the frequency of weekend crimes.

The findings suggest that lower incomes, higher unemployment, and more widespread vodka consumption increase the impact of extreme temperatures on violence against females.

They say that the number of women affected on extremely hot and cold days can be mitigated by increases in real wages income and job opportunities, and also by decreasing consumption of alcohol, though latter will work only for cold days. However, there are no such certain findings for men yet.

It is worth noting that O. Popova and V. Otrachshenko are originally from Ural, Russia and they strive to bring the country’s ecological issues to the international level.

Original source: Popova, O., Otrachshenko, V., & Tavares, J. (2019). Extreme temperature and extreme violence across age and gender: Evidence from Russia (No. 382).

Link to the source: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/201832/1/GLO-DP-0382.pdf

Photo: Alexey Litvinov

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