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Heat Stress: Ambient Temperature and Workplace Accidents in the US




Combining records for 71,225 severe accidents from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with a panel of county-level weather data for 1990 to 2010, we find that heat shocks significantly increase accident rates across the United States, while cold shocks significantly reduce them. We find that heat shocks increase accidents both in plausibly temperature-sensitive industries, like construction and agriculture, and among industries that are not obviously sensitive to weather. While we find suggestive evidence of short-term adaptation to heat shocks over summer months, we find no evidence that the impacts of heat shocks have fallen over our 21-year panel.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucy Page & Stephen Sheppard, 2019. "Heat Stress: Ambient Temperature and Workplace Accidents in the US," Department of Economics Working Papers 2019-05, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  • Handle: RePEc:wil:wileco:2019-05
    Note: Revision of earlier 2016 version

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Melissa Dell & Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2014. "What Do We Learn from the Weather? The New Climate-Economy Literature," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 52(3), pages 740-798, September.
    2. Tatyana Deryugina & Solomon M. Hsiang, 2014. "Does the Environment Still Matter? Daily Temperature and Income in the United States," NBER Working Papers 20750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Joshua Graff Zivin & Solomon M. Hsiang & Matthew Neidell, 2018. "Temperature and Human Capital in the Short and Long Run," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(1), pages 77-105.
    4. Melissa Dell & Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2012. "Temperature Shocks and Economic Growth: Evidence from the Last Half Century," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 66-95, July.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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