Max Auffhammer will be discussing the paper Destructive Behavior, Judgment, and Economic Decision-making under Thermal Stress.


Accumulating evidence indicates that environmental temperature substantially affects economic outcomes and violence, but the reasons for this linkage are only partially understood. While factors external to human beings (such as agricultural production) are known to respond adversely to high temperatures, extreme temperatures could also directly influence the internal mental processes governing decision-making. We study this by systematically evaluating the effect of thermal stress on multiple dimensions of economic decision-making, judgment, and destructive behavior with 2,000 participants in Kenya and the US who were randomly assigned to different temperatures in a laboratory. We find that heat significantly affects individuals’ willingness to voluntarily destroy other participants’ assets, with pronounced increases among those experiencing heightened political conflict in Kenya. We find that other major dimensions of economic decision making are largely unaffected by temperature.
© 2019 by Ingvild Almås, Maximilian Auffhammer, Tessa Bold, Ian Bolliger, Aluma Dembo, Solomon M. Hsiang, Shuhei Kitamura, Edward Miguel, and Robert Pickmans. All rights reserved.

Please email with the name of the presenter in order to request the Zoom joining details for this workshop by by 5pm on Tuesday 16th February 2021.

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