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I'm not fat, just too short for my weight - Family Child Care and Obesity in Germany

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  • Philippe Mahler

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    (Socioeconomic Institute, University of Zurich)

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    Abstract

    Obesity is increasing worldwide for both adults and children. Genetic disposition is responsible for some variation in body weight but cannot explain the dramatic increase in the last two decades. The increase must be due to structural and behavioral changes. One such behavioral change is the increase in working females in the last decades. The absence from the mother reduces potential child care time in the family. Reduced child care time may have adverse effects on the prevalence of obesity in children and adults. This paper analyzes the effect of mother’s labor supply in childhood on young adults probability of being obese in Germany. Using a sample drawn from the German Socio-Economic Panel the results show that a higher labor supply of the mother increases the probability for her child to be obese as young adult. This result underlines the importance of childhood environment on children’s later life outcome and the importance of behavioral changes in explaining the increase in obesity.

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    File URL: http://www.soi.uzh.ch/research/wp/2007/wp0707.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2007
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich in its series SOI - Working Papers with number 0707.

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    Length: 27 pages
    Date of creation: May 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:soz:wpaper:0707

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    Related research

    Keywords: GSOEP; obesity; female labor supply; child care; sibling estimation;

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    1. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994. "Beauty and the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1174-94, December.
    2. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," NBER Working Papers 8946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1994, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    4. Philippe Mahler & Rainer Winkelmann, 2004. "Secondary School Track Selection of Single-Parent Children – Evidence from the German Socio-Economic Panel," SOI - Working Papers 0415, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich, revised Oct 2005.
    5. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher & Phillip B. Levine, 2002. "Maternal employment and overweight children," Working Paper Series WP-02-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    6. Susan Averett & Sanders Korenman, 1993. "The Economic Reality of the Beauty Myth," NBER Working Papers 4521, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. 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.
    8. Cawley, John H. & Grabka, Markus M. & Lillard, Dean R., 2005. "A Comparison of the Relationship between Obesity and Earnings in the U.S. and Germany," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 119-129.
    9. Classen, Timothy & Hokayem, Charles, 2005. "Childhood influences on youth obesity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 165-187, July.
    10. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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