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Fat Chance! Obesity and the Transition from Unemployment to Employment

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  • Caliendo, Marco

    ()
    (University of Potsdam)

  • Lee, Wang-Sheng

    ()
    (Deakin University)

Abstract

This paper focuses on estimating the magnitude of any potential weight discrimination by examining whether obese job applicants in Germany get treated or behave differently from non-obese applicants. Based on two waves of rich survey data from the IZA Evaluation dataset, which includes measures that control for education, demographic characteristics, labor market history, psychological factors and health, we estimate differences in job search behavior and labor market outcomes between obese/overweight and healthy weight individuals. Unlike other observational studies which are generally based on obese and non-obese individuals who might already be at different points in the job ladder (e.g., household surveys), in our data, individuals are newly unemployed and all start from the same point. The only subgroup we find in our data experiencing any possible form of labor market discrimination is obese women. Despite making more job applications and engaging more in job training programs, we find some indications that they experienced worse (or at best similar) employment outcomes than healthy weight women. Obese women who found a job also had significantly lower wages than healthy weight women.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5795.

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Date of creation: Jun 2011
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Publication status: published in: Economics and Human Biology, 2013, 11 (2), 121-133
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5795

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Keywords: labor demand; obesity; discrimination; employment;

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References

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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Fat Chance! Obesity and the Transition from Unemployment to Employment
    by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2011-07-06 16:17:52
  2. Obesity on the German labor market
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-07-21 14:55:00
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Cited by:
  1. Caliendo, Marco & Gehrsitz, Markus, 2014. "Obesity and the Labor Market: A Fresh Look at the Weight Penalty," IZA Discussion Papers 7947, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Averett, Susan L. & Smith, Julie K., 2012. "Indebted and Overweight: The Link Between Weight and Household Debt," IZA Discussion Papers 6898, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Arni, Patrick & Caliendo, Marco & Künn, Steffen & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2014. "The IZA Evaluation Dataset Survey: A Scientific Use File," IZA Discussion Papers 7971, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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  1. Economic Logic blog

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