Nutrition, Labor Supply, and Productivity: Evidence from Ramadan in Indonesia

61 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2019

See all articles by Zihan Hu

Zihan Hu

Cornell University - Department of Economics; Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis and Management

Zhiwen Wang

Centre for Family and Population Research, National University of Singapore

Date Written: August 15, 2019

Abstract

This paper studies the short-term effects of nutrition deficiency on labor supply and productivity. Using high-frequency administrative data from a retail chain in Indonesia, we exploit the nutrition shock induced by Ramadan fasting among Muslim salespersons, a non-physically demanding occupation. Based on an event study approach, we find a 30% decrease in productivity for them during the two hours before sunset, when they experience the most energy deficiency. Their productivity recovers immediately after sunset, when they can break their fast. They leave work 32 minutes earlier during the hours of greatest energy deficiency. The effects are in line with the nutrition mechanism and are not likely driven by major competing explanations such as demand shocks, fast-breaking events, dehydration, and sleep deprivation.

Keywords: Nutrition deficiency, Labor supply, Productivity, Ramadan fasting

JEL Classification: I15, J24, Z12

Suggested Citation

Hu, Zihan and Wang, Zhiwen, Nutrition, Labor Supply, and Productivity: Evidence from Ramadan in Indonesia (August 15, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3450834 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3450834

Zihan Hu (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Department of Economics ( email )

414 Uris Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7601
United States
6072806888 (Phone)
14850 (Fax)

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis and Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY
United States

Zhiwen Wang

Centre for Family and Population Research, National University of Singapore ( email )

Block AS7, Level 3, 5 Arts Link
Singapore, 117570
Singapore
98605702 (Phone)

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