Working Papers​

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

(with Zihan Hu; 2021)

Abstract: More than six billion people practice certain religions. How religious practices affect worker performance is theoretically ambiguous and understudied. On one hand, religious practices require time that are then unavailable for production. Moreover, certain practices, such as fasting, may also directly impact worker productivity. On the other hand, religion may foster better work ethic and workers may find ways to attenuate the potential economic costs. Our paper examine the effects of religious practices on worker performance in the context of observing Ramadan fasting, one of the Five Pillars of Islam. We obtain high- frequency administrative data from a large retail chain in Indonesia and utilize an event- study approach to compare the performance of Muslim salespersons and their non-Muslim colleagues during Ramadan. After controlling for demand side change, we find that there is no significant change in the daily sales of Muslim salespersons during Ramadan. By further breaking down the total output within a day, we find that they leave work earlier by 22 minutes and their productivity decrease by 21% around sunset compared to their non- Muslim workers. Meanwhile, they exert more effort earlier in the day to compensate the decrease in productivity later in the day or shorter working hours. Lastly, we find that such effort reallocation is more salient among workers who have more Ramadan experience in the workplace.

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; 2021)

Abstract: For thousands of years, the use of alcoholic beverages has been an intrinsic component of human culture. While existing research has documented the correlation between alcohol consumption and various health problems, the correlational evidence appears inconsistent, and the causation has not yet been adequately demonstrated. This study provides new evidence on the causal impact of alcohol consumption on health by exploiting a plausible exogenous policy implemented in Finland in 1995, the deregulation of travelers’ duty-free alcohol imports. After the deregulation, the surge in border crossings and alcohol imports resulted in a 12% increase in alcohol consumption nationwide. Based on the significant spatial heterogeneity in the impacts of the policy on alcohol consumption, domestic sales, and drunk driving cases, this study employs a difference-in-differences approach to compare medical expenditures on five major diseases in municipalities located close to border crossings than in those farther away. We find that the deregulation reduced the prevalence of diabetes by 0.11%, coronary heart disease by 1.01%, rheumatoid arthritis by 0.16% and hypertension by 0.138%, while the prevalence of epilepsy was not significantly affected. We also find the policy significantly reduces mental illness. As a consequence, the increase in alcohol consumption does not significantly affect different kinds of crimes. Our findings have significant implications for public policy debates on alcohol consumption and its potential impacts on health and society.

Presentation: InaHEA, AASLE

Manuscript: PDF will be available online soon