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Wildfire smoke and labour market outcomes: SFU economics PhD paper runner up in Canadian Economics Association (CEA) Best Paper Prize

June 07, 2023

Congratulations to Stan Hetalo, whose paper was runner up for the Best Paper Prize among young labour economists by the Canadian Economics Association (CEA).  

As one of three shortlisted researchers, Hetalo was invited to present his paper at the Canadian Labour Economics Forum (CLEF): 2023 Best Young Research Award Presentations during the 57th annual CEA Conference in Winnipeg in June. His paper was named one of two runners up. 

In the abstract of his paper, he writes, "Wildfire smoke is known to be an increasing source of air pollution. While general air pollution is known to have a detrimental effect on health and worker productivity, the impact of wildfire smoke has been less studied. In this paper, I combine satellite data capturing daily smoke exposure with monthly individual-level work and earnings data across Canada to evaluate the causal impact of wildfire smoke on labour market outcomes. I find that work hours are reduced by almost one hour each week or approximately 2.5 percent for a typical worker in Canada due to wildfire smoke exposure. These negative impacts are lasting and persist up to two years into the future. My results highlight the importance of considering the long-term labour market impacts when assessing future air regulations or ildfire prevention investments."

Hetalo is a PhD candidate in Economics at Simon Fraser University. His primary interests are in the fields of applied microeconomics, labour economics, and environmental economics. To be specific, he works on global problems that are tied to local issues, such as big weather events. His current research relates wildfire smoke impact to the Canadian labour market on a national scale. More broadly, he is a data-oriented person with an applied mindset in the research. His passion is driven by the novel questions that extend our understanding about the world we live in. 

The SFU Department of Economics was also represented in the 2023 CEA - Bank of Canada Undergraduate Student Paper Awards, where the Award for Best Paper went to Lauren (Yoon Jeong) Hwang won for her paper  “The impact of framing on demand for plastic: an experimental study” Hwang was also this year's winner of the Jack Knetsch Award which goes to the student with the best paper in the Economics Honours Thesis (ECON 499W) course.