Advancement to Candidacy Presentation: “Do Microclimates Matter? The Health Impacts of Urban Heat Using Fine-Scale Data”, Luorao Bian

Date and Time
North Hall 2212


Luurao Bian, University of California, Santa Barbara


Luorao's research centers on the well-being of disadvantaged populations, situated at the intersection of Environmental and Labor Economics. Her recent work involves quantifying the health impacts of small-scale temperature variations, including urban heat. Furthermore, she has investigated labor-related subjects, including the policy impacts of safety net reform and city-level minimum wage. She holds an M.A. in Public Policy from the University of Chicago.

Event Details

Luorao will be presenting her Advancement to Candidacy paper, “Do Microclimates Matter? The Health Impacts of
Urban Heat Using Fine-Scale Data”. To access the Advancement paper, you must have an active UCSB NetID and

Abstract and JEL Codes

Humans exert significant influence on the environment they inhabit, yet they remain vulnerable to changes in that environment. In this study, I investigate the impacts of small-scale temperature variations on human well-being in urban areas, with a specific focus on urban heat, a primary contributor to temperature differentials at the neighborhood level. Leveraging fine-scale data from NASA satellite images and local emergency medical service records, I find that health is sensitive to small-scale temperature changes, and urban heat serves an indispensable component in modeling the relationship. In contrast to large-scale temperature increases, such as global warming, urban heat operates on a much smaller geographical scale, imposing relatively smaller health risks. The effects of urban heat present considerable seasonal variations as human responds to overall temperature rather than urban heat alone. Urban heat significantly amplifies heat-related risks on hotter days, despite providing modest protection during colder periods. The findings highlight the potential benefits of urban heat mitigation policies. For instance, regulating urban heat within the range of -5 to 5 degrees alone results in a reduction of up to 3.47% in emergency medical caseload on hot days.

JEL Codes: I15, Q54, R11

Research Areas