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The Consequences of Measurement Error when Estimating the Impact of BMI on Labour Market Outcomes

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  • Donal O'Neill

    ()
    (Department of Economics Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland, Maynooth)

  • Olive sweetman

    ()
    (Department of Economics Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland, Maynooth)

Abstract

This paper uses data on both self-reported and true measures of individual Body Mass Index (BMI) to examine the nature of measurement error in self-reported BMI and to look at the consequences of using self-reported measures when estimating the effect of BMI on economic outcomes. In keeping with previous studies we find that self-reported BMI is subject to significant measurement error and this error is negatively correlated with the true measure of BMI. In our analysis this non-classical measurement error causes the traditional approach to overestimate the relationship between BMI and both income and education. Furthermore we show that popular alternatives estimators that have been adopted to address problems of measurement error in BMI, such as the conditional expectation approach and the instrumental variables approach, also exhibit significant biases.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth in its series Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series with number n232b-12.pdf.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:may:mayecw:n232b-12.pdf

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Postal: Maynooth, Co. Kildare
Phone: 353-1-7083728
Fax: 353-1-7083934
Web page: http://economics.nuim.ie
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Keywords: Obesity; Non-Classical Measurement Error; Auxiliary Data; Instrumental Variables;

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  1. Brendan Kline & Justin L. Tobias, 2008. "The wages of BMI: Bayesian analysis of a skewed treatment-response model with nonparametric endogeneity," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(6), pages 767-793.
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Cited by:
  1. O'Neill, Donal & Sweetman, Olive, 2013. "Estimating Obesity Rates in the Presence of Measurement Error," IZA Discussion Papers 7288, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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