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Economic Losses of Heat-Induced Reductions in Outdoor Worker Productivity: a Case Study of Europe

Anton Orlov, Jana Sillmann, Hans Asbjørn Aaheim, Kristin Aunan, Karianne de Bruin

European countries have experienced strong heat waves over the last two decades. The frequency and magnitude of such extreme weather events are expected to increase in the near future. Using an interdisciplinary approach, which combines meteorological, epidemiological and economic analyses, we assess the cost of heat-induced reductions in outdoor worker productivity in Europe caused by the heat waves in August of 2003, July of 2010, and July of 2015. We found that for the top ten most affected European countries, average direct economic losses in agriculture accounted for $59–90 per worker and for construction, it was $41–72 per worker. Direct economic losses were especially high in countries, such as Cyprus, Italy, and Spain. Social costs of heat-induced reductions in worker productivity in agriculture and construction account for an average of $2–3 per capita.

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