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International Trade and Health

Paper Session

Friday, Jan. 5, 2018 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Pennsylvania Convention Center, 104-A
Hosted By: American Economic Association
  • Chair: John Cawley, Cornell University

Weight gains from trade in foods: Evidence from Mexico

Osea Giuntella
,
University of Pittsburgh
Matthias Rieger
,
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Lorenzo Rotunno
,
Aix-Marseille University

Abstract

This paper investigates the e ffects of international trade in food on obesity in Mexico. We classify Mexican food imports from the U.S. into healthy and unhealthy and match these with anthropometric and food expenditure survey data. We fi nd that exposure to imports of unhealthy foods signifi cantly contributes to the rise of obesity in Mexico. The empirical evidence also suggests that unhealthy food imports may widen health disparities between education groups. By linking trade flows to food expenditure and obesity, the paper sheds light on an important channel through which globalisation
may a ffect health.

The Health Toll of Import Competition

Jerome Adda
,
Bocconi University
Yarine Fawaz
,
CEMFI

Abstract

This paper assesses the effect of import competition on the health of US workers by exploiting over 52 million individual observations on health and mortality. We first show that import shocks affect employment and income, but only in areas with a high proportion of routine tasks. In those areas, we find that import had a detrimental effect on physical and mental health, worsened health behavior, decreased health care utilisation and increased hospitalisation for a range of conditions. The mortality hazard of workers in manufacturing increased by 3 percent per billion dollar import increase.

Trade Liberalization and Mortality: Evidence From United States Counties

Justin Pierce
,
Federal Reserve Board
Peter Schott
,
Yale University

Abstract

We investigate the impact of a large economic shock on mortality. We find that counties more exposed to a plausibly exogenous trade liberalization exhibit higher rates of suicide and related causes of death, concentrated among whites, especially white males. These trends are consistent with our finding that more-exposed counties experience relative declines in manufacturing employment, a sector in which whites and males are disproportionately employed. We also examine other causes of death that might be related to labor market disruption and find both positive and negative relationships. More-exposed counties, for example, exhibit lower rates of fatal heart attacks.

No Pain, No Gain: The Effects of Exports on Sickness, Injury, and Effort

David Hummels
,
Purdue University
Chong Xiang
,
Purdue University
Jakob Munch
,
University of Copenhagen

Abstract

Health is an important contributor to our well-being, but we do not fully understand how to quantify this contribution, or how demand shocks affect health. We combine Danish data on individuals’ health with Danish matched worker-firm data. We find that when firm exports rise for exogenous reasons: 1. Women have higher sickness rates. For example, a 10% exogenous increase in exports increases women’s rates of depression by 2.5%, and hospitalizations due to heart attacks or strokes by 15%. 2. Both men and women have higher injury rates, both overall and correcting for hours worked; and 3. Both men and women work longer hours and take fewer sick-leave days. We then develop a novel framework to calculate the marginal disutility of any non-fatal disease, and to aggregate across multiple types of sickness and injury to compute the total utility loss. The ex-ante utility loss due to higher sickness rates is one fifth of the wage gain from rising exports for the average man, and over one half for the average woman. Our marginal disutility estimates suggest that ex post, those who actually get injured or sick suffer large utility losses; e.g. exceeding 3 million Danish Kroner for a woman who is hospitalized due to a heart attack or stroke.
Discussant(s)
John Cawley
,
Cornell University
David Atkin
,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Brian Kovak
,
Carnegie Mellon University
Charles Courtemanche
,
Georgia State University
JEL Classifications
  • F1 - Trade
  • I1 - Health