Population and trends in the global mean temperature

Richard S.J. Tol*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The Fisher ideal index, developed to measure price inflation, is applied to define a population-weighted temperature trend. This method has the advantages that the trend is representative for the population distribution throughout the sample but without conflating the trend in the population distribution and the trend in the temperature. I show that the trend in the global area-weighted average surface air temperature is different in key details from the population-weighted trend. I extend the index to include urbanization and the urban heat island effect. This substantially changes the trend again. I further extend the index to include international migration, but this has a minor impact on the trend.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-135
Number of pages15
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Fisher index
  • JEL Classification: Q54
  • Population-weighted temperature trend

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