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

Author

Listed:
  • 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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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. 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).
    4. Barbara Dluhosch & Daniel Horgos, 2019. "International Competition Intensified: Job Satisfaction Sacrificed?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 143(2), pages 479-504, June.
    5. 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).
    6. Jérôme Adda & Yarine Fawaz, 2020. "The Health Toll of Import Competition," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 130(630), pages 1501-1540.
    7. Rania Gihleb & Osea Giuntella & Luca Stella & Tianyi Wang, 2020. "Industrial Robots, Workers’ Safety, and Health," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1107, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    8. Mari Tanaka, 2020. "Exporting Sweatshops? Evidence from Myanmar," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 442-456, July.
    9. Giuntella, Osea & Rieger, Matthias & Rotunno, Lorenzo, 2020. "Weight gains from trade in foods: Evidence from Mexico," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C).
    10. Colantone, Italo & Crinò, Rosario & Ogliari, Laura, 2019. "Globalization and mental distress," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 181-207.
    11. 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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