Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Caught in the Bulimic Trap? Socioeconomic Status, State Dependence, and Unobserved Heterogeneity

Contents:

Author Info

  • Michelle S. Goeree
  • John C. Ham
  • and Daniela Iorio
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Eating disorders are an important and growing health concern, and bulimia nervosa (BN) accounts for the largest fraction of eating disorders. Health consequences of BN are substantial and especially serious given the increasingly compulsive nature of the disorder. However, remarkably little is known about the mechanisms underlying the persistent nature of BN and the socioeconomic groups that are most likely to be at risk. Using a unique panel data set on young women and instrumental variable techniques, we document that unobserved heterogeneity plays a role in the persistence of BN, but strikingly up to two thirds is due to true state dependence. Our results, together with support from the medical literature, provide strong evidence that bulimia should be considered an addiction. We also find that African Americans are more likely to exhibit and persist in bulimic behavior than Whites; as are girls from low income families compared to middle and high income families. These results stand in stark contrast to the popular conceptions of who is most likely to experience BN, and we argue that this is due to differences in the diagnosis across racial and income classes. Our findings have important implications for public policy since they i) provide direction to policy makers regarding which adolescent females are most at risk for BN, and ii) suggest that the timing of the policy is crucial: preventive educational programs should be coupled with more intense (rehabilitation) treatment at the early stages of bingeing and purging behaviors. Our results are robust to different model specications and identifying assumptions.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://research.barcelonagse.eu/tmp/working_papers/386.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 386.

    as in new window
    Length:
    Date of creation: May 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:386

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27, 08005 Barcelona
    Phone: +34 93 542-1222
    Fax: +34 93 542-1223
    Email:
    Web page: http://www.barcelonagse.eu
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords: Bulimia Nervosa; Demographics; State Dependence; Instrumental Variables; and Dynamic Panel Data Estimation; Addiction;

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Andrew M. Jones & José M. Labeaga, 2003. "Individual heterogeneity and censoring in panel data estimates of tobacco expenditure," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(2), pages 157-177.
    2. Michelle S. Goeree & John C. Ham & Daniela Iorio, 2009. "Caught in the bulimic trap? Persistence and state dependence of bulimia among young women," IEW - Working Papers 447, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich, revised Jul 2012.
    3. Timothy J. Richards & Paul M. Patterson & Abebayehu Tegene, 2007. "Obesity And Nutrient Consumption: A Rational Addiction?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(3), pages 309-324, 07.
    4. Donna B. Gilleskie & Koleman S. Strumpf, 2005. "The Behavioral Dynamics of Youth Smoking," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(4), pages 822-866.
    5. Inas Rashad, 2006. "Structural Estimation of Caloric Intake, Exercise, Smoking, and Obesity," NBER Working Papers 11957, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:386. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bruno Guallar).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.