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Fat City: The Relationship Between Urban Sprawl and Obesity

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Author Info

  • Jean Eid
  • Henry G. Overman
  • Diego Puga
  • Matthew A. Turner

Abstract

We study the relationship between urban sprawl and obesity. Using data that tracks individuals over time, we find no evidence that urban sprawl causes obesity. We show that previous findings of a positive relationship most likely reflect a failure to properly control for the fact the individuals who are more likely to be obese choose to live in more sprawling neighborhoods. Our results indicate that current interest in changing the built environment to counter the rise in obesity is misguided.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-255.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 06 Oct 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-255

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Keywords: urban sprawl; obesity; selection effects;

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  1. 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.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew E. Kahn, 2003. "Sprawl and Urban Growth," NBER Working Papers 9733, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Chou, Shin-Yi & Grossman, Michael & Saffer, Henry, 2004. "An economic analysis of adult obesity: results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 565-587, May.
  4. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Duranton, Gilles & Gobillon, Laurent, 2004. "Spatial Wage Disparities: Sorting Matters!," CEPR Discussion Papers 4240, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. 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.
  7. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson & Jay Bhattacharya, 2005. "Welfare-Enhancing Technological Change and the Growth of Obesity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 253-257, May.
  8. Patrick Bayer & Robert McMillan, 2005. "Racial Sorting and Neighborhood Quality," NBER Working Papers 11813, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher & Phillip B. Levine, 2002. "Maternal Employment and Overweight Children," NBER Working Papers 8770, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Marcy Burchfield & Henry G. Overman & Diego Puga & Matthew A. Turner, 2006. "Causes of Sprawl: A Portrait from Space," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 587-633, May.
  11. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  12. Duncan Black & Vernon Henderson, 1997. "Urban Growth," NBER Working Papers 6008, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Heckman, James J. & Robb, Richard Jr., 1985. "Alternative methods for evaluating the impact of interventions : An overview," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 239-267.
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