The Economic Impacts of Temperature on Industrial Productivity

Surface temperatures broadly influence economic output through their impact on worker’s productivity.

Plant level manufacturing output responds negatively to high temperatures. The magnitude of losses is economically significant of the order of 2% of daily output per degree celsius
Body Heat Mechanism

The physics of how temperatures affects human beings is well known. The physical exchange of heat between the human body and the surrounding air is fundamentally related to health because in order to maintain normal body temperatures, the human body must dissipate the heat it generates internally to the ambient atmosphere. When energy is expended while working, internal heat generation increases and correspondingly greater rates of heat loss become necessary. When this balance cannot be maintained during normal activity levels then it becomes necessary, for safety reasons to reduce the rate at which energy is consumed or to suffer the adverse consequence of over-heating, including heat stroke.

  • Worker discomfort
  • Worker attrition
  • Decreased attractiveness of the job
  • The magnitude of costs imposed by heat stress effects is significant
  • There is empirical evidence from the manufacturing sector in India to suggest that manufacturing output decreases significantly as temperatures increase.
  • This impact is likely to be similar in manufacturing sectors in countries other than India.
  • The effect of temperature on worker productivity is much more important than is generally recognized.


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