Economics of Disasters and Climate Change

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 191–211 | Cite as

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

  • Anton OrlovEmail author
  • Jana Sillmann
  • Asbjørn Aaheim
  • Kristin Aunan
  • Karianne de Bruin
Original Paper


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.


Heat waves Worker productivity Economic losses Europe 

JEL Classification

Q54 C68 D24 



This work was funded by The Research Council of Norway through project number 243953 “Physical and Statistical Analysis of Climate Extremes in Large Datasets” (ClimateXL). Also, the authors thank Christian Wilhelm Mohr for technical assistance and valuable comments.

Supplementary material

41885_2019_44_MOESM1_ESM.docx (30 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 30.1 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anton Orlov
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jana Sillmann
    • 1
  • Asbjørn Aaheim
    • 1
  • Kristin Aunan
    • 1
  • Karianne de Bruin
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for International Climate Research (CICERO)OsloNorway
  2. 2.Wageningen Environmental ResearchWageningenNetherlands

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