A spatiotemporal analysis of OECD member countries on sugar consumption and labor force participation
(1) Mingdao High School, Taichung, Taiwan, (2) Minerva University, San Francisco, Californiahttps://doi.org/10.59720/21-246
Sugar can be classified into two groups, 1) “natural sugars,” which come from fruits and plants and provides energy for the cells, or 2) “free sugars,” which are any sugars added to food or drinks. Although natural sugars provide an energy supply for workers, free sugars may negatively impact workers' performance. For example, free sugars may contribute to diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. In this study, we examined the impact of sugar consumption on the labor force participation rate. We defined three states of sugar consumption: underconsumption, sufficient consumption, and overconsumption. Underconsumption of sugar decreases productivity; sufficient consumption of sugar makes productivity close to its maximum rate, and overconsumption of sugar worsens productivity. Given these three conditions, we hypothesized that a negative quadratic relationship between sugar consumption and productivity exists. Using data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, we built a random effects model to estimate the effect of sugar consumption on the labor force participation rate (LFPR), accounting for confounders and temporal and spatial heterogeneity. Consistent with our hypothesis, there is a negative quadratic correlation between sugar consumption and LFPR, albeit with a weak R-squared value (0.38685). Potential explanations for the result include the large sample size of the research, the limitation on collected data, and the potential missing confounders. At the policy level, we introduce solutions to mitigate the negative externalities of sugar consumption, such as labeling sugar content on nutrition facts labels, raising health awareness, and enhancing related education.
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