Ask NUS Economists

Ask NUS Economists: Productivity decline linked to high temperatures

A: Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew famously proclaimed that air-conditioning was one of the most important inventions of the 20th century, enabling Singapore's success and, more generally, making development possible in the tropics.

Today, some workers are still routinely exposed to high temperatures in work environments that are not amenable to climate control. Since high temperatures cause biological stress, there is a growing concern that the productivity of these workers may be affected as the climate warms. There are, however, few studies on the topic.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2018, with the headline 'Productivity decline linked to high temperatures '. Print Edition | Subscribe