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Labour Market, Obesity and Public Policy Considerations

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  • Eleftheriou, Konstantinos
  • Athanasiou, George

Abstract

This paper attempts to investigate the relation among wages, unemployment and obesity and to identify public policies to address the problem of over-weightness. To this purpose, a simple search and matching model of labour market is developed. Our framework tries to capture the relationship between obesity and employment/unemployment by assuming that the fraction of obese workers is a function of the ratio of vacant jobs to unemployment (labour market tightness). We argue that if obesity is positively related with employment, then social optimality dictates the imposition of a lump-sum tax on all individuals. In the opposite case a subsidy should be given.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 20926.

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Date of creation: 23 Feb 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:20926

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Keywords: Obesity; Taxation; Unemployment; Wages;

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  1. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1996. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," NBER Working Papers 5570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Brunello, Giorgio & D'Hombres, Beatrice, 2007. "Does body weight affect wages?: Evidence from Europe," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 1-19, March.
  3. Stefan Mann, 2008. "Framing Obesity in Economic Theory and Policy," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 66(2), pages 163-179.
  4. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "On the Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 279-98, April.
  5. Greve, Jane, 2008. "Obesity and labor market outcomes in Denmark," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 350-362, December.
  6. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Cawley, John, 2008. "Beyond BMI: The value of more accurate measures of fatness and obesity in social science research," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 519-529, March.
  7. 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.
  8. Morris, Stephen, 2006. "Body mass index and occupational attainment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 347-364, March.
  9. Morris, Stephen, 2007. "The impact of obesity on employment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 413-433, June.
  10. 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.
  11. Tomas Philipson, 2001. "The world-wide growth in obesity: an economic research agenda," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(1), pages 1-7.
  12. Cawley, John, 2008. "Contingent valuation analysis of willingness to pay to reduce childhood obesity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 281-292, July.
  13. Trenton Smith & Christiana Stoddard & Michael G. Barnes, 2007. "Why the Poor Get Fat: Weight Gain and Economic Insecurity," Working Papers 2007-16, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University.
  14. Komlos, John & Smith, Patricia K. & Bogin, Barry, 2003. "Obesity and the Rate of Time Preference: Is there a Connection?," Discussion Papers in Economics 60, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  15. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2003. "Good times make you sick," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 637-658, July.
  16. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
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