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

67 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2016

See all articles by David L. Hummels

David L. Hummels

Purdue University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jakob Roland Munch

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics; Center for Economic and Business Research (CEBR)

Chong Xiang

Purdue University - Krannert School of Management

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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.

Keywords: demand shocks, worker effort, health

JEL Classification: I1, F1, J2, F6

Suggested Citation

Hummels, David L. and Munch, Jakob Roland and Xiang, Chong, No Pain, No Gain: The Effects of Exports on Effort, Injury, and Illness. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10036, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2810427

David L. Hummels (Contact Author)

Purdue University - Department of Economics ( email )

West Lafayette, IN 47907-1310
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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Jakob Roland Munch

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

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Denmark
+45 35323019 (Phone)
+45 35323000 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.ku.dk/Faculty_And_Staff/showID.asp?profile_id=1260

Center for Economic and Business Research (CEBR)

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DK-2000 Frederiksberg
Denmark

Chong Xiang

Purdue University - Krannert School of Management ( email )

1310 Krannert Building
West Lafayette, IN 47907-1310
United States

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