The impact of high temperatures on productivity

Erasmus School of Economics

Together with Matteo Picchio, Jan van Ours, Professor of Applied Economics at Erasmus School of Economics, looked into the effects of high temperatures on productivity. Their research is conducted by a case study of professional tennis.

For a long time, weather conditions did not play a large role in economic research. Recently, however, the effects of temperature on behaviour have been studied along various dimensions. An example is the recent paper of Van Ours and Picchio, where they study how high temperatures affect the performance of male professional tennis players.

By using time series information, Van Ours and Picchio concluded multiple interesting effects of (high) temperatures. Generally, it can be concluded that high temperatures have a negative effect on performance. That effect is larger for older and less-skilled players. Additionally, the effect is larger when there is more at stake.

When high temperatures last for a longer period of time, players eventually adapt to the circumstances and the impact on performance decreases. ‘Finally, we found evidence of adaptation: when temperatures are high over a longer time period, the negative performance effects are smaller than they are in the short run’, the researchers explain.

More information

You can read the full article from CEPR, 7 October 2023, here

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