Body size and wages in Europe: A semi-parametric analysis
AbstractEvidence of the association between wages and body size –typically measured by the body mass index– appears to be sensitive to estimation methods and samples, and varies across gender and ethnic groups. One factor that may contribute to this sensitivity is the non-linearity of the relationship. This paper analyzes data from the European Community Household Panel survey and uses semi-parametric techniques to avoid functional form assumptions and assess the relevance of standard models. If a linear model for women and a quadratic model for men fit the data relatively well, they are not entirely satisfactory and are statistically rejected in favour of semiparametric models which identify patterns that none of the parametric specifications capture. Furthermore, when we use height and weight in the models directly, rather than equating body size with the body mass index, the semi-parametric models reveal a more complex picture with height having additional effects on wages. We interpret our results as consistent with the existence of a wage premium for physical attractiveness rather than a penalty for unhealthy weight.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by McMaster University in its series Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers with number 269.
Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2010
Date of revision:
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More information through EDIRC
Body Mass Index; obesity; wages; partial linear models; ECHP;
Other versions of this item:
- HILDEBRAND Vincent & VAN KERM Philippe, 2010. "Body size and wages in Europe: A semi-parametric analysis," CEPS/INSTEAD Working Paper Series 2010-09, CEPS/INSTEAD.
- C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
- J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-07-10 (All new papers)
- NEP-EUR-2010-07-10 (Microeconomic European Issues)
- NEP-HEA-2010-07-10 (Health Economics)
- NEP-LAB-2010-07-10 (Labour Economics)
- NEP-LTV-2010-07-10 (Unemployment, Inequality & Poverty)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna, 2005.
"The Obesity Epidemic in Europe,"
IZA Discussion Papers
1814, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- 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.
- DOORLEY Karina & SIERMINSKA Eva, 2011. "Beauty and the beast in the labor market: Evidence from a distribution regression approach," CEPS/INSTEAD Working Paper Series 2011-62, CEPS/INSTEAD.
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