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Direct and Indirect Effects of Teenage Body Weight on Adult Wages

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  • Euna Han
  • Edward C. Norton
  • Lisa M. Powell

Abstract

Previous estimates on the association between body weight and wages in the literature have been contingent on education and occupation. This paper examines the direct effect of BMI on wages and the indirect effects operating through education and occupation choice, particularly for late-teen BMI and adult wages. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 data, we show that education is the main pathway for the indirect BMI wage penalty. The total BMI wage penalty is underestimated by 18% for women without including those indirect effects. Whereas for men there is no statistically significant direct BMI wage penalty, we do observe a small indirect wage penalty through education.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15027.

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Date of creation: Jun 2009
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Publication status: published as Econ Hum Biol. 2011 Dec;9(4):381-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ehb.2011.07.002. Epub 2011 Jul 19. Direct and indirect effects of body weight on adult wages. Han E, Norton EC, Powell LM.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15027

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  1. Morris, Stephen, 2007. "The impact of obesity on employment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 413-433, June.
  2. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Robert J. Barro, 1986. "Government Spending, Interest Rates, Prices, and Budget Deficits in the United Kingdom, 1701-1918," NBER Working Papers 2005, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Nicola Persico & Andrew Postlewaite & Dan Silverman, 2004. "The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 1019-1053, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Dackehag, Margareta & Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Nordin, Martin, 2011. "Productivity or discrimination? An economic analysis of excess-weight penalty in the Swedish labor market," Working Papers 2011:12, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  2. Benjamin Volland, 2013. "Conscientious consumers? Preferences, personality and expenditure in the UK," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2013-05, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.

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