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Productivity or discrimination? An economic analysis of excess-weight penalty in the Swedish labor market

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Author Info

  • Dackehag, Margareta

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Lund University)

  • Gerdtham, Ulf-G

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Lund University)

  • Nordin, Martin

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Lund University)

Abstract

Using longitudinal data, this paper investigates the penalty for excess weight in the Swedish labor market, distinguishing between the productivity and the discrimination hypotheses. We analyze employment, income, and sickness absence , using the latter as a direct measure of productivity. We find that excess weight women, but not men, experience a significant employment penalty. Both genders experience a significant income penalty for obesity. We conclude that the penalties are associated with lower productivity, primarily in terms of health. We find no evidence of discrimination.

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File URL: http://project.nek.lu.se/publications/workpap/papers/WP11_12.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Lund University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2011:12.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 01 Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2011_012

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund,Sweden
Phone: +46 +46 222 0000
Fax: +46 +46 2224613
Web page: http://www.nek.lu.se/en
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Keywords: Employment; income; sickness absence; obesity; overweight;

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  1. Anna Sanz de Galdeano, 2007. "An Economic Analysis of Obesity in Europe: Health, Medical Care and Absenteeism Costs," Working Papers 2007-38, FEDEA.
  2. Morris, Stephen, 2007. "The impact of obesity on employment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 413-433, June.
  3. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  4. Broström, Göran & Palme, Mårten & Johansson, Per, 2002. "Economic incentives and gender differences in work absence behavior," Working Paper Series 2002:14, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  5. Greve, Jane, 2008. "Obesity and labor market outcomes in Denmark," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 350-362, 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, 2010. "No Country for Fat Men? Obesity, Earnings, Skills, and Health among 450,000 Swedish Men," IZA Discussion Papers 4775, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Vincenzo Atella & Noemi Pace & Daniela Vuri, 2008. "Are employers discriminating with respect to weight? European Evidence using Quantile Regression," CEIS Research Paper 123, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 14 Jul 2008.
  9. Barmby, Tim, 2002. "Worker absenteeism: a discrete hazard model with bivariate heterogeneity," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-476, September.
  10. Euna Han & Edward C. Norton & Lisa M. Powell, 2009. "Direct and Indirect Effects of Teenage Body Weight on Adult Wages," NBER Working Papers 15027, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Morris, Stephen, 2006. "Body mass index and occupational attainment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 347-364, March.
  12. 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.
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