Speed Reads


Study: Productivity — and monetary earnings — decrease on hotter days

A new study from economists at the University of Illinois and the University of California, Berkeley, found that when average daily temperatures are above 59 degrees, people work less and earn less money. The findings were published in a working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The researchers looked at 40 years of temperatures and economic data, and they found that average economic productivity decreases by almost one percent for every degree Fahrenheit above 59 degrees. For days with average temperatures of 77 degrees, for example, people's income was reduced by about $5 a day.

Meanwhile, productivity peaks at the "sweet spot" of average daily temperatures between 54 and 59 degrees.

The study authors warn that if the Earth "continues on its current path of greenhouse gas emissions," the U.S. economy could lose "tens of billions of dollars each year," Phys.org notes. According to the study, rising temperatures "will reduce the nation's economic growth by 0.12 percentage points a year."