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Obesity and labour market success in Finland: The difference between having a high BMI and being fat

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Author Info

  • Johansson, Edvard
  • Böckerman, Petri
  • Kiiskinen, Urpo
  • Heliövaara, Markku

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between obesity and labour market success in Finland, using various indicators of individual body composition along with body mass index (BMI). Weight, height, fat mass and waist circumference are measured by health professionals. We find that only waist circumference has a negative association with wages for women, whereas no obesity measure is significant in the linear wage models for men. However, all measures of obesity are negatively associated with women's employment probability and fat mass is negatively associated with men's employment probability. We also find that the use of categories for waist circumference and fat mass has a substantial influence on the results. For example, the category for high fat mass is associated with roughly 5.5% lower wages for men. All in all, the results indicate that in the absence of measures of body composition, there is a risk that labour market penalties associated with obesity are measured with bias.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics & Human Biology.

Volume (Year): 7 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 36-45

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:7:y:2009:i:1:p:36-45

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622964

Related research

Keywords: Obesity Body composition Fatness Wages Employment;

References

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  1. Böckerman, Petri & Johansson, Edvard & Jousilahti, Pekka & Uutela, Antti, 2008. "The physical strenuousness of work is slightly associated with an upward trend in the BMI," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(6), pages 1346-1355, March.
  2. Vincenzo Atella & Noemi Pace & Daniela Vuri, 2008. "Are employers discriminating with respect to weight? European Evidence using Quantile Regression," CEIS Research Paper 123, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 14 Jul 2008.
  3. Cawley, John H. & Grabka, Markus M. & Lillard, Dean R., 2005. "A Comparison of the Relationship between Obesity and Earnings in the U.S. and Germany," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 119-129.
  4. Böckerman, Petri & Ilmakunnas, Pekka, 2007. "Unemployment and self-assessed health: Evidence from panel data," MPRA Paper 1798, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. John Cawley & Richard V. Burkhauser, 2006. "Beyond BMI: The Value of More Accurate Measures of Fatness and Obesity in Social Science Research," NBER Working Papers 12291, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Nicola Persico & Andrew Postlewaite & Dan Silverman, 2003. "The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height," PIER Working Paper Archive 03-036, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  7. Hübler, Olaf, 2006. "The Nonlinear Link between Height and Wages: An Empirical Investigation," IZA Discussion Papers 2394, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Charles L. Baum & William F. Ford, 2004. "The wage effects of obesity: a longitudinal study," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(9), pages 885-899.
  9. Greve, Jane, 2008. "Obesity and labor market outcomes in Denmark," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 350-362, December.
  10. Nicola Persico & Andrew Postlewaite & Dan Silverman, 2001. "The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height, Third Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 04-013, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 05 Jan 2004.
  11. Wada, Roy & Tekin, Erdal, 2010. "Body composition and wages," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 242-254, July.
  12. John Cawley & Sheldon Danziger, 2005. "Morbid obesity and the transition from welfare to work," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(4), pages 727-743.
  13. Giorgio Brunello & Beatrice d'Hombres, 2006. "Does Body Weight affect Wages? Evidence from Europe," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0027, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
  14. Susan Averett & Sanders Korenman, 1996. "The Economic Reality of the Beauty Myth," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 304-330.
  15. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  16. Arrow, J. O., 1996. "Estimating the influence of health as a risk factor on unemployment: A survival analysis of employment durations for workers surveyed in the German Socio-Economic Panel (1984-1990)," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 42(12), pages 1651-1659, June.
  17. Morris, Stephen, 2007. "The impact of obesity on employment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 413-433, June.
  18. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Edvard Johansson & Hannu Alho & Urpo Kiiskinen & Kari Poikolainen, 2007. "The association of alcohol dependency with employment probability: evidence from the population survey 'Health 2000 in Finland'," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(7), pages 739-754.
  20. Franks, Peter & Gold, Marthe R. & Fiscella, Kevin, 2003. "Sociodemographics, self-rated health, and mortality in the US," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(12), pages 2505-2514, June.
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