Hot Days and the (In)Ability to Work

The ability to work is central to most economic and social outcomes. Using data from the Indian 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 broad-based evidence of how short-term high temperatures impact effective labour supply and,
  • show how resilience in the face of heat is sensitive to policy-manipulable 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) reduces ability to work by about 10 per cent. The impact is strongest in older workers and varies by type of work. Access to electricity in the home has important protective effects, but only once the quality of that electricity passes a particular threshold. Installation of cooling technology in the home mitigates about a fifth of the effect. The adequacy and quality of water supply to a home also has important mitigative effects.

Professor Anthony Heyes

Since August 2011 Anthony has been Full Professor of Economics at University of Ottawa. He also holds the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Environmental Economics in Ottawa and is a part-time Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex Business School in England. From 1998 to 2011 he was Full Professor at the University of London (based at its Royal Holloway campus) where he also served spells as Head of Economics, Associate Dean and Dean of the Faculty of History & Social Sciences (which included the School of Management), among other roles. Before that he was a Fellow at Nuffield College, University of Oxford.

Anthony has a BA (Cambridge – First Class Honours) and PhD (McGill) and has wide-ranging research interests in environmental policy and “business and the environment” issues. Recent research has focused on corporate social responsibility, regulatory design, the implications of the natural environment for a variety of health and non-health outcomes and how to build environmental-resilience, behavioural economics applied to environmental problems, formal analysis of green NGOs and incentives for green innovation.

Outside academia Anthony has consulted and advised widely. Off-campus commitments vary year to year. In 2018 Anthony was Chair of the Province of Ontario’s Clean Technology Panel, and Chaired the SSHRC-CRSH Insight Grant Committee, the main source of funding for social science research in Canada.