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No Pain, No Gain: The Effects of Exports on Effort, Injury, and Illness

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  • Hummels, David

    (Purdue University)

  • Munch, Jakob R.

    (University of Copenhagen)

  • Xiang, Chong

    (Purdue University)

Abstract

Increased job effort can raise productivity and income but put workers at increased risk of illness and injury. We combine Danish data on individuals' health with Danish matched worker-firm data to understand how rising exports affect individual workers' effort, injury, and illness. We find that when firm exports rise for exogenous reasons: 1. Workers work longer hours and take fewer sick-leave days; 2. Workers have higher rates of injury, both overall and correcting for hours worked; and 3. Women have higher sickness rates. For example, a 10% exogenous increase in exports increases women's rates of injury by 6.4%, and hospitalizations due to heart attacks or strokes by 15%. Finally, we develop a novel framework to calculate the marginal dis-utility of any non-fatal disease, such as heart attacks, and to aggregate across multiple types of sickness conditions and injury to compute the total utility loss. While the ex-ante utility loss for the average worker is small relative to the wage gain from rising exports, the ex-post utility loss is much larger for those who actually get injured or sick.

Suggested Citation

  • Hummels, David & Munch, Jakob R. & Xiang, Chong, 2016. "No Pain, No Gain: The Effects of Exports on Effort, Injury, and Illness," IZA Discussion Papers 10036, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10036
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    2. Gihleb, Rania & Giuntella, Osea & Stella, Luca & Wang, Tianyi, 2022. "Industrial robots, Workers’ safety, and health," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    3. Mari Tanaka, 2020. "Exporting Sweatshops? Evidence from Myanmar," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 442-456, July.
    4. Giuntella, Osea & Rieger, Matthias & Rotunno, Lorenzo, 2020. "Weight gains from trade in foods: Evidence from Mexico," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C).
    5. Jérôme Adda & Yarine Fawaz, 2020. "The Health Toll of Import Competition," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 130(630), pages 1501-1540.
    6. Colantone, Italo & Crinò, Rosario & Ogliari, Laura, 2019. "Globalization and mental distress," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 181-207.
    7. Antonia Lopez Villavicencio & Maria Cervini, 2019. "The mental health consequences of globalisation," EconomiX Working Papers 2019-26, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    8. Barbara Dluhosch, 2021. "The role of perceptions about trade and inequality in the backlash against globalization," SN Business & Economics, Springer, vol. 1(12), pages 1-24, December.
    9. Thomas Hofmarcher, 2021. "The effect of paid vacation on health: evidence from Sweden," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 34(3), pages 929-967, July.
    10. Lihua Dai & Qi Fan & Yanyun Li & Faqin Lin, 2021. "No time to look after the kids: The unintended consequences of export expansion on child health," Economics of Transition and Institutional Change, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 29(3), pages 527-548, July.
    11. Feng, Jin & Xie, Qiang & Zhang, Xiaohan, 2021. "Trade liberalization and the health of working-age adults: Evidence from China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 139(C).
    12. Fan, Haichao & Lin, Faqin & Lin, Shu, 2020. "The hidden cost of trade liberalization: Input tariff shocks and worker health in China," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C).
    13. Sergei Guriev & Elias Papaioannou, 2022. "The Political Economy of Populism," Post-Print hal-03874305, HAL.
    14. Molina, Teresa & Tanaka, Mari, 2020. "Globalization and Female Empowerment: Evidence from Myanmar," IZA Discussion Papers 13957, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    demand shocks; worker effort; health;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • F6 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization

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