Sunset Time and the Economic Effects of Social Jetlag. Evidence from US Time Zone Borders


vicolo dalla Piccola 12

This study uses a spatial regression discontinuity design to identify the effects of the misalignment between social and biological time resulting from the conflict between social constructs such as time zones and work schedules and the timing of natural light, which affects our physiological processes. Exploiting the discontinuity in the timing of natural light at a time-zone boundary, we find that an extra hour of natural light in the evening reduces sleep duration by an average of 19 minutes and increases the likelihood of reporting insufficient sleep. Natural light affects individual bedtime, but social schedules are not responsive to social schedules. Using data drawn from multiple sources, we find that the timing of natural light has significant effects on health outcomes (e.g., obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and pregnancy outcomes), and annual income. We provide an estimate of the productivity losses associated with these effects.


  • Fabrizio Mazzonna - Relatore ospite
    Università della Svizzera Italiana
    Fabrizio Mazzonna is Assistant Professor in Health Economics at USI. He did his undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, receiving his PhD in Econometrics in 2011. He has been visiting researcher at University College of London. In the period 2011-2012 he was a Senior Researcher at the Munich Center of Economics of Ageing (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute in Munich. His research interests are in the fields of health economics and applied microeconometrics. His current research focuses on aging issues, namely on the determinants of health and cognitive depreciation over time. He published articles in international journals on issues related to the effects of retirement and education on cognitive abilities of the elderly. Since September 2014 is the scientific director of the Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) Summer School in Public Health Policy, Economics and Management that takes place every year in August in Lugano. He is also the academic director of the SSPH+ International Doctoral Courses in Health Economics and Policy.

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