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The impact of income on the weight of elderly Americans

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  • John Cawley
  • John Moran
  • Kosali Simon

Abstract

This paper estimates the impact of income on the body weight and clinical weight classification of elderly Americans using a natural experiment that led otherwise identical retirees to receive significantly different Social Security payments based on their year of birth. We estimate models of instrumental variables using data from the National Health Interview Surveys and find no significant effect of income on weight. The confidence intervals rule out even moderate effects of income on weight and on the probability of being underweight or obese, especially for men. For example, they indicate that the income elasticity of body mass index is not greater in absolute value than 0.06 for men or 0.14 for women. Copyright (C) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/hec.1541
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 19 (2010)
Issue (Month): 8 (August)
Pages: 979-993

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Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:19:y:2010:i:8:p:979-993

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Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

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Keywords: obesity ; income ; instrumental variables ;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. John R. Moran & JKosali Ilayperuma Simon, 2006. "Income and the Use of Prescription Drugs by the Elderly: Evidence from the Notch Cohorts," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(2).
  3. Greve, Jane, 2007. "Obesity and Labor Market Outcomes: New Danish Evidence," Working Papers 07-13, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  4. Engelhardt, Gary V., 2008. "Social security and elderly homeownership," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 280-305, January.
  5. Maximilian D. Schmeiser, 2009. "Expanding wallets and waistlines: the impact of family income on the BMI of women and men eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(11), pages 1277-1294.
  6. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  7. Alan B. Krueger & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1991. "The Effect of Social Security on Labor Supply: A Cohort Analysis of the Notch Generation," NBER Working Papers 3699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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".
  9. John R. Moran & Kosali Ilayperuma Simon, 2004. "Income and the Use of Prescription Drugs by the Elderly: Evidence from the Notch Cohorts," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 66, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  10. Stock, James H & Wright, Jonathan H & Yogo, Motohiro, 2002. "A Survey of Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 518-29, October.
  11. Morris, Stephen, 2006. "Body mass index and occupational attainment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 347-364, March.
  12. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," NBER Working Papers 8946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Andrew G. Biggs & Jeffrey R. Brown & Glenn Springstead, 2005. "Alternative Methods of Price Indexing Social Security: Implications for Benefits and System Financing," NBER Working Papers 11406, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Gary V. Engelhardt & Jonathan Gruber & Cynthia D. Perry, 2005. "Social Security and Elderly Living Arrangements: Evidence from the Social Security Notch," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
  15. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson & Jay Bhattacharya, 2005. "Welfare-Enhancing Technological Change and the Growth of Obesity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 253-257, May.
  16. Schroeter, Christiane & Lusk, Jayson & Tyner, Wallace, 2008. "Determining the impact of food price and income changes on body weight," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 45-68, January.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Dardanoni, Valentino & Modica, Salvatore & Peracchi, Franco, 2011. "Regression with imputed covariates: A generalized missing-indicator approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 162(2), pages 362-368, June.
  2. Mario Schnalzenberger, 2011. "Causal effect of income on health: Investigating two closely related policy reforms in Austria," NRN working papers 2011-06, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  3. García Villar, Jaume & Quintana-Domeque, Climent, 2009. "Income and body mass index in Europe," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 73-83, March.
  4. Sonia Oreffice & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2009. "Fatter Attraction: Marital Status and the Relationship between BMI and Labor Supply," Working Papers 2009.116, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  5. Owen O'Donnell & Eddy Van Doorslaer & Tom Van Ourti, 2013. "Health and Inequality," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-170/V, Tinbergen Institute.
  6. Courtemanche, Charles & Pinkston, Joshua C. & Stewart, Jay, 2014. "Adjusting Body Mass for Measurement Error with Invalid Validation Data," IZA Discussion Papers 8009, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Godard, Mathilde, 2013. "Gaining weight through retirement ? Results from the SHARE survey," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/11535, Paris Dauphine University.
  8. Maclean, Johanna Catherine, 2013. "The health effects of leaving school in a bad economy," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 951-964.
  9. PAN, Jay & QIN, Xuezheng & LIU, Gordon G., 2013. "The impact of body size on urban employment: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 249-263.
  10. Ljungvall, Åsa & Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Lindblad, Ulf, 2012. "Misreporting and Misclassification: Implications for Socioeconomic Disparities in Body-mass Index and Obesity," Working Papers 2012:19, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  11. Johnston, David W. & Lordan, Grace, 2014. "Weight perceptions, weight control and income: An analysis using British data," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 132-139.
  12. repec:dau:papers:123456789/11012 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Johnston, D.W.; & Lordan, G.;, 2012. "My body is fat and my wallet is thin: The link between weight perceptions, weight control and income," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 12/27, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  14. Tafreschi, Darjusch, 2011. "The Income Body Weight Gradients in the Developing Economy of China," Economics Working Paper Series 1140, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.

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