Long-term impacts of exposure to high temperatures on human capital

Long-term impacts of exposure to high temperatures on human capital and economic productivity:

“Weather anomalies have a range of adverse contemporaneous impacts on health and socio-economic outcomes. This paper tests if temperature anomalies around the time of birth can have long-term impacts on individuals' economic productivity. Using unique data sets on historical weather and earnings, place and date of birth of all 1.5 million formal employees in Ecuador, we find that individuals who have experienced in-utero temperatures that are 1 °C above average are less educated and earn about 0.7% less as adults. Results are robust to alternative specifications and falsification tests and suggest that warming may have already caused adverse long-term economic impacts.”

Paper link here


Ram Fishman, Paul Carrillo, Jason Russ (2018) (Journal of Environmental Economics and Management)

Comment: the falsification test does mean that spurious patterns are a less likley explanation, there could be other causal effects as correlation is not causation, but the finding is provocative.

It chimes with a recent paper by Isen et al. (2017) finds evidence for a simila r association among 30-year individuals in the U.S. born between 1969 and 1977.  (Relationship between season of birth, temperature exposure, and later life wellbeing).