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The Effect of Obesity on Wages and Employment: The Difference Between Having a High BMI and Being Fat

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Author Info

  • Johansson, Edvard

    ()
    (Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration)

  • Böckerman, Petri

    ()
    (Labour Institute for Economic Research)

  • Kiiskinen, Urpo

    ()
    (National Public Health Institute)

  • Heliövaara, Markku

    ()
    (National Public Health Institute)

Abstract

In this paper, we re-examine the relationship between overweight and labour market success, using indicators of individual body composition along with BMI (Body Mass Index). We use the dataset from Finland in which weight, height, fat mass and waist circumference are not self-reported, but obtained as part of the overall health examination. We find that waist circumference, but not weight or fat mass, has a negative effect on wages for women, whereas all measures of obesity have negative effects on women’s employment probabilities. For men, the only obesity measure that is significant for men’s employment probabilities is fat mass. One interpretation of our findings is that the negative wage effects of overweight on wages run through the discrimination channel, but that the negative effects of overweight on employment have more to do with ill health. All in all, measures of body composition provide a more refined picture about the effects of obesity on wages and employment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Hanken School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 528.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 13 Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhb:hanken:0528

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Hanken School of Economics, Arkadiankatu 22, P.O.B. 479; FIN 00101 Helsinki, Finland
Phone: +358-9-431 331
Fax: +358-9-431 33 333
Web page: http://www.hanken.fi
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Related research

Keywords: wages; employment; bmi; overweight; obesity; fatness; adiposity;

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

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  1. John Cawley & Markus M. Grabka & Dean R. Lillard, 2005. "A Comparison of the Relationship between Obesity and Earnings in the U.S. and Germany," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 125(1), pages 119-129.
  2. 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.
  3. Nicola Persico & Andrew Postlewaite & Dan Silverman, 2004. "The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 1019-1053, October.
  4. 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.
  5. Hübler, Olaf, 2006. "The Nonlinear Link between Height and Wages: An Empirical Investigation," IZA Discussion Papers 2394, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Cawley, John, 2008. "Beyond BMI: The value of more accurate measures of fatness and obesity in social science research," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 519-529, March.
  7. 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".
  8. 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.
  9. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  10. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Strandvik, Tore & Holmlund, Maria & Edvardsson, Bo, 2008. "Customer Needing - Conceptualising Industrial Service from a Customer Perspective," Working Papers 536, Hanken School of Economics.
  2. Greve, Jane, 2008. "Obesity and labor market outcomes in Denmark," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 350-362, December.
  3. Wägar, Karolina & Björk, Peter & Ravald, Annika & West, Björn, 2007. "Exploring Marketing in Micro Firms," Working Papers 531, Hanken School of Economics.
  4. Roy Wada & Erdal Tekin, 2007. "Body Composition and Wages," NBER Working Papers 13595, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Giorgio Brunello & Pierre-Carl Michaud & Anna Sanz de Galdeano, 2008. "The Rise in Obesity Across the Atlantic: An Economic Perspective," Working Papers 2008-21, FEDEA.
  6. Sjöholm, Hans-Kristian, 2007. "The Impact of New Capital Requirements on the Portfolio Decisions of Finnish Pension Institutions," Working Papers 532, Hanken School of Economics.
  7. Ahlgren, Niklas & Juselius, Mikael, 2009. "Tests for Cointegration Rank and the Initial Condition," Working Papers 539, Hanken School of Economics.

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