STICERD Psychology and Economics Seminar
Sleepless in Chennai: The Consequences of Increasing Sleep among the Urban Poor
Gautam Rao (Harvard University), joint with Pedro Bessone, Frank Schilbach, Heather Schofield, and Mattie Toma
Tuesday 24 September 2019 14:00 - 15:30
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About this event
This paper measures the prevalence and consequences of sleep deprivation among the urban poor in India. We find that low-income adults in Chennai sleep little and poorly: 5.6 hours of objectively-measured sleep per night, despite 8 hours in bed. Their sleep can be increased substantially: randomized treatments providing simple devices, encouragement, (and for some) financial incentives increase night sleep by over 30 minutes. Offering short naps at the workplace in the afternoon also increased daily sleep. However, increased night sleep had no detectable effects on cognition, productivity or labor supply, economic decisions, or physical health. In contrast, naps improved cognition, subjective well-being and labor productivity. Naps also reduced present bias and inattention, and marginally increased financial savings. Our results provide a possible explanation for the persistence of widespread sleep deprivation and the relatively high prevalence of afternoon naps in many developing countries.
STICERD Psychology and Economics seminars are held on Tuesdays in term time at 15:30-17:00, ONLINE, unless specified otherwise.
Seminar organisers: Dr Matthew Levy and Professor Nava Ashraf
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