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Gender, Body Mass and Economic Status

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  • Dalton Conley
  • Rebecca Glauber
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    Abstract

    Previous research on the effect of body mass on economic outcomes has used a variety of methods to mitigate endogeneity bias. We extend this research by using an older sample of U.S. individuals from the PSID. This sample allows us to examine age-gender interactive effects. Through sibling-random and fixed effects models, we find that a one percent increase in a woman's body mass results in a .6 percentage point decrease in her family income and a .4 percentage point decrease in her occupational prestige measured 13 to 15 years later. Body mass is also associated with a reduction in a woman's likelihood of marriage, her spouse's occupational prestige, and her spouse's earnings. However, consistent with past research, men experience no negative effects of body mass on economic outcomes. Age splits show that it is among younger adults where BMI effects are most robust, lending support to the interpretation that it is BMI causing occupational outcomes and not the reverse.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11343.

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    Date of creation: May 2005
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    Publication status: published as Conley, Dalton and Rebecca Glauber. “Gender, Body Mass and Socioeconomic Status: New Evidence from the PSID.” Advances in Health Economics and Health Services Research 17 (2006): 255-280.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11343

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    1. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
    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. Susan Averett & Sanders Korenman, 1993. "The Economic Reality of the Beauty Myth," NBER Working Papers 4521, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. J. A. Hausman, 1976. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Working papers 185, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    5. David I. Levine & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2003. "The growing importance of family and community: an analysis of changes in the sibling correlation in earnings," Working Paper Series WP-03-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    6. Gary Solon & Mary Corcoran & GRoger Gordon & Deborah Laren, 1991. "A Longitudinal Analysis of Sibling Correlations in Economic Status," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(3), pages 509-534.
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    Cited by:
    1. Barone, Adriana & O'Higgins, Niall, 2009. "Fat and Out in Salerno and Province: Adolescent Obesity and Early School Leaving in Southern Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 4229, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Hübler, Olaf, 2006. "The Nonlinear Link between Height and Wages: An Empirical Investigation," IZA Discussion Papers 2394, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Ali, Mir M. & Amialchuk, Aliaksandr & Rizzo, John A., 2012. "The influence of body weight on social network ties among adolescents," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 20-34.
    4. Jaume Garcia Villar & Climent Quintana, 2005. "Body size, activity, employment and wages in Europe: A first approach," Economics Working Papers 897, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 2006.
    5. 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.
    6. John Cawley & Richard V. Burkhauser, 2006. "Beyond BMI: The Value of More Accurate Measures of Fatness and Obesity in Social Science Research," NBER Working Papers 12291, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Alan C. Monheit & Jessica P. Vistnes & Jeannette A. Rogowski, 2007. "Overweight in Adolescents: Implications for Health Expenditures," NBER Working Papers 13488, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Roy Wada & Erdal Tekin, 2007. "Body Composition and Wages," NBER Working Papers 13595, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Ali, Mir M. & Rizzo, John A. & Amialchuk, Aliaksandr & Heiland, Frank, 2014. "Racial differences in the influence of female adolescents’ body size on dating and sex," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 140-152.
    10. 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".
    11. Rashad, Inas, 2008. "Height, health, and income in the US, 1984-2005," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 108-126, March.
    12. Webbink, Dinand & Martin, Nicholas G. & Visscher, Peter M., 2010. "Does education reduce the probability of being overweight?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 29-38, January.
    13. Edward C. Norton & Euna Han, 2008. "Genetic information, obesity, and labor market outcomes," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(9), pages 1089-1104.
    14. Richard Burkhauser & John Cawley, 2006. "The Importance of Objective Health Measures in Predicting Early Receipt of Social Security Benefits: The Case of Fatness," Working Papers wp148, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    15. Jaume Garcia & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2005. "Obesity, Wages and Employment in Europe," Labor and Demography 0508002, EconWPA, revised 03 Apr 2006.

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