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Fat City: Questioning the Relationship Between Urban Sprawl and Obesity

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  • Eid, Jean
  • Overman, Henry G.
  • Puga, Diego
  • Turner, Matthew A

Abstract

We study the relationship between urban sprawl and obesity. Using data that tracks individuals over time, we find no evidence that urban sprawl causes obesity. We show that previous findings of a positive relationship most likely reflect a failure to properly control for the fact the individuals who are more likely to be obese choose to live in more sprawling neighbourhoods. Our results indicate that current interest in changing the built environment to counter the rise in obesity is misguided.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6191.

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Date of creation: Mar 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6191

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Keywords: obesity; selection effects; urban sprawl;

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References

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  1. James J. Heckman & Sergio Urzua & Edward Vytlacil, 2009. "Understanding Instrumental Variables in Models with Essential Heterogeneity," Working Papers, Geary Institute, University College Dublin 200941, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew E. Kahn, 2003. "Sprawl and Urban Growth," NBER Working Papers 9733, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Duncan Black & Vernon Henderson, 1997. "Urban Growth," NBER Working Papers 6008, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," Working Papers 0203, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  5. Patrick Bayer & Robert McMillan, 2005. "Racial Sorting and Neighborhood Quality," NBER Working Papers 11813, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Shin-Yi Chou & Michael Grossman & Henry Saffer, 2002. "An Economic Analysis of Adult Obesity: Results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," NBER Working Papers 9247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher & Phillip B. Levine, 2002. "Maternal Employment and Overweight Children," NBER Working Papers 8770, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. David Cutler & Edward Glaeser & Jesse Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," NBER Working Papers 9446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Durlauf, Steven N., 2004. "Neighborhood effects," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 50, pages 2173-2242 Elsevier.
  10. Patrick Bayer & Fernando Ferreira & Robert McMillan, 2007. "A Unified Framework for Measuring Preferences for Schools and Neighborhoods," NBER Working Papers 13236, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Duranton, Gilles & Gobillon, Laurent, 2008. "Spatial wage disparities: Sorting matters!," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 723-742, March.
  12. Marcy Burchfield & Henry G. Overman & Diego Puga & Matthew A. Turner, 2005. "Causes of sprawl: A portrait from space," Working Papers tecipa-192, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  13. Andrew J. Plantinga & Stephanie Bernell, 2007. "The Association Between Urban Sprawl And Obesity: Is It A Two-Way Street?," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(5), pages 857-879.
  14. Thomas MaCurdy & Thomas Mroz & R. Mark Gritz, 1998. "An Evaluation of the National Longitudinal Survey on Youth," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(2), pages 345-436.
  15. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  16. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. 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.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. The Chronicle of Higher Education Offers Articles on Sprawl's Bad Effects and on University President Pay
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2012-01-25 22:32:00
  2. Urban Vibrancy and Shrinking the Household Carbon Footprint from Transportation
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Legal Planet on 2012-03-24 00:04:05
  3. Urban Form and Public Health
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Legal Planet on 2012-01-26 03:16:54
  4. Urban Vibrancy and Shrinking the Household Carbon Footprint from Transportation
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Legal Planet on 2012-03-24 00:04:05
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