Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/223911
Authors: 
Slusky, David
Zeckhauser, Richard J.
Year of Publication: 
2020
Series/Report no.: 
IZA Discussion Papers No. 13469
Abstract: 
Recent medical literature suggests that vitamin D supplementation protects against acute respiratory tract infection. Humans exposed to sunlight produce vitamin D directly. This paper investigates how differences in sunlight, as measured over several years across states and during the same calendar week, affect influenza incidence. We find that sunlight strongly protects against getting influenza. This relationship is driven almost entirely by the severe H1N1 epidemic in fall 2009. A 10% increase in relative sunlight decreases the influenza index in September or October by 1.1 points on a 10-point scale. A second, complementary study employs a separate data set to study flu incidence in counties in New York State. The results are strongly in accord.
Subjects: 
Seasonal Influenza
sunlight
vitamin d
natural experiment
H1N1
JEL: 
I10
I12
I18
Q5
N32
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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