Econometrics & Applied Economics Seminar - Anthony Heyes (University of Ottawa)

Room 605, Level 6, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street, Carlton


Title: Hot Days and the Ability to Work: Evidence from a Representative Sample of 42,152 Indian Households by Anthony Heyes (University of Ottawa) and Soodeh Saberian (University of Manitoba).

Abstract: The ability and willingness of people to go to work is central to most economic and social outcomes. Using data from the India Human Development Survey (IHDS-II), with the scheduling in advance of interviews ensuring quasi-random assignment of temperature treatment to respondent, we provide the first large-sample evidence of the impact of short-term high temperatures on labor supply and how that impact depends upon individual living conditions. The effects are substantial and robust. Other things equal a hot day (one in which maximum daytime temperature exceeds 37.7 °C (100 °F) reduces ability to work by about 10%. The impact is strongest on older workers and varies by type of work, but there is little difference between males and females. Access to electricity in the home has important protective effects, but only once the quality of that electricity passes a particular threshold, while installation of cooling technology in the home mitigates around a quarter of the effect. The adequacy and quality of water supply to a home also has important protective effects. The results are interpreted against the background of most climate models predicting a substantial rise in the frequency of hot days in India between now and 2100.