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Is the Obesity Epidemic a Public Health Problem? A Decade of Research on the Economics of Obesity

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  • Tomas Philipson
  • Richard Posner

Abstract

The world-wide and ongoing rise in obesity has generated enormous popular interest and policy concern in developing countries, where it is rapidly becoming the major public health problem facing such nations. As a consequence, there has been a rapidly growing field of economic analysis of the causes and consequences of this phenomenon. This paper discusses some of the central themes of this decade long research program, aiming at synthesizing the different strands of the literature, and to point to future research that seems particularly productive.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14010.

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Date of creation: May 2008
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Publication status: published as Tomas J. Philipson & Richard A. Posner, 2008. "Is the Obesity Epidemic a Public Health Problem? A Review of Zoltan J. Acs and Alan Lyles's Obesity, Business and Public Policy ," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 974-82, December.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14010

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  1. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994. "Beauty and the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1174-94, December.
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  10. Susan Averett & Sanders Korenman, 1996. "The Economic Reality of the Beauty Myth," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 304-330.
  11. Shin-Yi Chou & Michael Grossman & Henry Saffer, 2002. "An Economic Analysis of Adult Obesity: Results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," NBER Working Papers 9247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Levy, Amnon, 2002. "Rational eating: can it lead to overweightness or underweightness?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 887-899, September.
  13. Kan, Kamhon & Tsai, Wei-Der, 2004. "Obesity and risk knowledge," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 907-934, September.
  14. Shin-Yi Chou & Inas Rashad & Michael Grossman, 2008. "Fast-Food Restaurant Advertising on Television and Its Influence on Childhood Obesity," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(4), pages 599-618, November.
  15. Jeff E. Biddle & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1995. "Beauty, Productivity and Discrimination: Lawyers' Looks and Lucre," NBER Working Papers 5366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. Kuchler, Fred & Golan, Elise H. & Variyam, Jayachandran N. & Crutchfield, Stephen R., 2005. "Obesity Policy and the Law of Unintended Consequences," Brazilian Journal of Rural Economy and Sociology (RESR), Sociedade Brasileira de Economia e Sociologia Rural, June.
  18. Tomas J. Philipson & Richard A. Posner, 1999. "The Long-Run Growth in Obesity as a Function of Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 7423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Kuchler, Fred & Golan, Elise H. & Variyam, Jayachandran N. & Crutchfield, Stephen R., 2005. "Obesity Policy and the Law of Unintended Consequences," Amber Waves, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, June.
  20. Jay Bhattacharya & Neeraj Sood, 2005. "Health Insurance and the Obesity Externality," NBER Working Papers 11529, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Jay Bhattacharya & M. Kate Bundorf, 2005. "The Incidence of the Healthcare Costs of Obesity," NBER Working Papers 11303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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