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Anthropometry and socioeconomics among couples: Evidence in the United States

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  • Oreffice, Sonia
  • Quintana-Domeque, Climent

Abstract

We analyze the marriage-market aspects of weight and height in the United States using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics on anthropometric characteristics of both spouses. We find evidence of positive sorting in spouses' body mass index (BMI), weight, and height. Within couples, gender-asymmetric trade-offs arise not only between physical and socioeconomic attributes, but also between anthropometric attributes, with significant penalties for fatter women and shorter men. A wife's obesity (BMI or weight) measures are negatively correlated with her husband's income, education, and height, controlling for his weight and her height, along with spouses' demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Conversely, heavier husbands are not penalized by matching with poorer or less educated wives, but only with shorter ones. Height is valued mainly for men, with shorter men matched with heavier and less educated wives.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 8 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (December)
Pages: 373-384

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:8:y:2010:i:3:p:373-384

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

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Keywords: Weight Height BMI Marriage market;

References

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  1. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2006. "Stature and status: Height, ability, and labor market outcomes," Working Papers 27, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  2. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Belot, Michèle & Fidrmuc, Jan, 2009. "Anthropometry of Love: Height and Gender Asymmetries in Interethnic Marriages," CEPR Discussion Papers 7146, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Averett, Susan L. & Sikora, Asia & Argys, Laura M., 2008. "For better or worse: Relationship status and body mass index," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 330-349, December.
  6. Euna Han & Edward C. Norton & Sally C. Stearns, 2009. "Weight and wages: fat versus lean paychecks," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 535-548.
  7. Lundborg, Petter & Nystedt, Paul & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2009. "The Height Premium in Earnings: The Role of Physical Capacity and Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 4266, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. 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.
  9. Roy Wada & Erdal Tekin, 2007. "Body Composition and Wages," NBER Working Papers 13595, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Dan-Olof Rooth, 2009. "Obesity, Attractiveness, and Differential Treatment in Hiring: A Field Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
  11. Christian A. Gregory & Christopher J. Ruhm, 2011. "Where Does the Wage Penalty Bite?," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Aspects of Obesity, pages 315-347 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Herpin, Nicolas, 2005. "Love, careers, and heights in France, 2001," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 420-449, December.
  13. John Cawley, 2000. "Body Weight and Women's Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 7841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Arnaud Dupuy & Alfred Galichon, 2012. "Personality Traits and the Marriage Market," Working Papers 2012/41, Maastricht School of Management.
  2. Michela Ponzo & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2013. "Physical Attractiveness And Household Income: Trading Height For Education In The Marriage Market," Working Papers 201307, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza (Ex Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica).
  3. Andrew E. Clark & Fabrice Etilé, 2010. "Happy house: Spousal weight and individual well-being," PSE Working Papers halshs-00564836, HAL.
  4. Manfredini, Matteo & Breschi, Marco & Fornasin, Alessio & Seghieri, Chiara, 2013. "Height, socioeconomic status and marriage in Italy around 1900," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 465-473.
  5. Wilson, Sven E., 2012. "Marriage, gender and obesity in later life," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 431-453.
  6. Sonia Oreffice & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2012. "A Matter of Weight? The Role of Spouses. Physical Attractiveness on Hours of Work," CHILD Working Papers Series 7, Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA.
  7. Sonia Oreffice & Climent Quintana, 2011. "A Matter of Weight? Hours of Work of Married Men and Women and Their Relative Physical Attractiveness," Working Papers 2011-05, FEDEA.
  8. Chiappori, Pierre-André & Oreffice, Sonia & Quintana-Domeque, Climent, 2011. "Black-White Marital Matching: Race, Anthropometrics, and Socioeconomics," IZA Discussion Papers 6196, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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