Working Papers​

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

(with Zihan Hu; 2020)

Abstract:  We study the causal effects of short-term nutrition deficiency on labor supply and productivity in the workplace. To establish causality, we exploit the nutrition shock induced by Ramadan fasting and compare the fasting salespersons with their non-fasting colleagues in a retail chain. First, we find immediate, adverse effects of short-term nutrition deficiency on the labor supply and productivity of these non-physical workers. The productivity and labor supply of fasting salespersons decrease by 30% and 32 minutes after they have not eaten lunch for about 3 hours. Second, our evidence indicate that such adverse impact on productivity can be eliminated immediately after having food. The productivity of fasting salespersons recovers immediately after sunset, when they can break their fast. Third, we find that there is no long-term effect on labor supply and productivity by the short-term nutrition deficiency. The labor supply and productivity of fasting workers return to the same level of the non-fasting colleagues after the fasting month.


Slides: PDF

Manuscript: PDF at SSRN

The Effects of Alcohol Consumption on Health, Crimes, and Socio-economic Outcomes

(with Sumit Agarwal, Jussi Keppo, Zoe Yang; 2020)

Abstract: Alcohol has been used for personal consumption and socializing for thousands of years. The past literature has documented the correlation between alcohol consumption, diseases, crimes, and some socio-economic outcomes. However, the correlational evidence appears inconsistent, and the causality is not yet well established. Moreover, there are little systematic causal estimates on alcohol harms using a full population sample. Here we fill these gaps by utilizing the deregulation in travelers' tax-free alcohol import in Finland 1995. After the deregulation, the travelers' alcohol import increased by 194%. We show some evidence indicating that alcohol consumption increased more significantly in Finnish municipalities closer to the border crossing points. 


By comparing close municipalities with far municipalities, we find that the increased availability of tax-free alcohol: (i) increased the prevalence of epilepsy by 2.9% and asthma by 3.1%, and decreased coronary heart disease by 4.4%, while it did not significantly affect diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and hypertension; (ii) it reduced employment rate by 2.3%, voter turnout by 5.4%, and vocational education by 0.8%, but there were no significant impacts on higher education, young women's pregnancies, and suicide; (iii) impulsive crimes such as assault, aggravated property damage, and manslaughter surged significantly by 28.5%, 53.1%, and 17.3%, respectively, yet premeditated crimes like murder, theft, and fraud remained unchanged. Our findings have significant implications on public policy debates on alcohol consumption and the associated health, social, and economic cost. 

Presentation: NUS, InaHEA, AASLE

Manuscript: PDF will be available online soon