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The impact of temperature on productivity and labor supply: Evidence from Indian manufacturing

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  • Somanathan, E.
  • Somanathan, Rohini
  • Sudarshan, Anant
  • Tewari, Meenu

Abstract

Hotter years are associated with lower economic output in developing countries. We show that the effect of temperature on labor is an important part of the explanation. Using microdata from selected firms in India, we estimate reduced worker productivity and increased absenteeism on hot days. Climate control significantly mitigates productivity losses. In a national panel of Indian factories, annual plant output falls by about 2% per degree Celsius. This response appears to be driven by a reduction in the output elasticity of labor. Our estimates are large enough to explain previously observed output losses in cross-country panels.

Suggested Citation

  • Somanathan, E. & Somanathan, Rohini & Sudarshan, Anant & Tewari, Meenu, 2021. "The impact of temperature on productivity and labor supply: Evidence from Indian manufacturing," Ruhr Economic Papers 912, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:rwirep:912
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sanghamitra Das & Kala Krishna & Sergey Lychagin & Rohini Somanathan, 2013. "Back on the Rails: Competition and Productivity in State-Owned Industry," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 136-162, January.
    2. Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Neidell, 2014. "Temperature and the Allocation of Time: Implications for Climate Change," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 1-26.
    3. Hemanshu Kumar & Rohini Somanathan, 2009. "Mapping Indian Districts Across Census Years, 1971-2001," Working papers 176, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
    4. Hunt Allcott & Allan Collard-Wexler & Stephen D. O'Connell, 2016. "How Do Electricity Shortages Affect Industry? Evidence from India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(3), pages 587-624, March.
    5. Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Neidell, 2012. "The Impact of Pollution on Worker Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3652-3673, December.
    6. Achyuta Adhvaryu & Namrata Kala & Anant Nyshadham, 2020. "The Light and the Heat: Productivity Co-Benefits of Energy-Saving Technology," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 102(4), pages 779-792, October.
    7. 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.
    8. Maximilian Auffhammer & Solomon M. Hsiang & Wolfram Schlenker & Adam Sobel, 2013. "Using Weather Data and Climate Model Output in Economic Analyses of Climate Change," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 7(2), pages 181-198, July.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Temperature; warming; labor productivity; labor supply;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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