No Pain, No Gain: Work Demand, Work Effort, and Worker Health

79 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2016 Last revised: 12 Aug 2021

See all articles by David L. Hummels

David L. Hummels

Purdue University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jakob Roland Munch

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics; Center for Economic and Business Research (CEBR)

Chong Xiang

Purdue University - Krannert School of Management

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2016

Abstract

We combine Danish data on individuals’ health with Danish matched worker-firm data, and find: One, within job spells, as firm sales increases, workers log longer hours and experience higher probabilities of stress and depression, and heart diseases and strokes; Two, the effects of firm sales on adverse health outcomes are more pronounced for high-risk groups: older workers, job-strained workers, and those with long initial work hours; Three, the worker cohorts who experience large sales increases develop higher risks of sickness in subsequent quarters. These novel results suggest that work demand increases individuals’ workplace stress and elevates their sickness risk. We then compute the marginal disutility of our sickness variables, and show that the average worker’s ex-ante welfare loss due to higher sickness rates accounts for nearly one quarter of her earnings gains from rising firm sales.

Suggested Citation

Hummels, David L. and Munch, Jakob Roland and Xiang, Chong, No Pain, No Gain: Work Demand, Work Effort, and Worker Health (July 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22365, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2810913

David L. Hummels (Contact Author)

Purdue University - Department of Economics ( email )

West Lafayette, IN 47907-1310
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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Jakob Roland Munch

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

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Denmark
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+45 35323000 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.ku.dk/Faculty_And_Staff/showID.asp?profile_id=1260

Center for Economic and Business Research (CEBR)

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DK-2000 Frederiksberg
Denmark

Chong Xiang

Purdue University - Krannert School of Management ( email )

1310 Krannert Building
West Lafayette, IN 47907-1310
United States

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