Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Why the Poor Get Fat: Weight Gain and Economic Insecurity

Contents:

Author Info

  • Trenton Smith
  • Christiana Stoddard
  • Michael G. Barnes

    ()
    (School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University)

Abstract

Something about being poor makes people fat. Though there are many possible explanations for the income-body weight gradient, we investigate a promising butlittle-studied hypothesis: that economic insecurity acts as an independent cause of weight gain. We use data on working age men from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79) to identify the effect of various measures of economic insecurity on weight gain. We find in particular that over the 12-year period between 1988 and 2000, a one point (0.01) increase in the probability of becoming unemployed causes weight gain over this period to increase by about one pound, and each realized drop in annual income results in an increase of about 5.5 pounds. The mechanism also appears to work in reverse, with health insurance and government "social safety net" payments leading to smaller weight gains.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://faculty.ses.wsu.edu/WorkingPapers/tsmith/Insecurity033007.pdf
File Function: First version, 2007
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University in its series Working Papers with number 2007-16.

as in new window
Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wsu:wpaper:tgsmith-2

Contact details of provider:
Postal: PO Box 646210, Pullman, WA 99164-646210
Phone: 509-335-5555
Fax: 509-335-1173
Web page: http://faculty.ses.wsu.edu/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: obesity; unemployment; moral hazard; NLSY79;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," Working Papers 0203, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  2. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
  3. Smith, Trenton G, 2002. "The McDonald's Equilibrium: Advertising, Empty Calories, and the Endogenous Determination of Dietary Preferences," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0hx9x4jr, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  4. Trenton Smith, 2006. "Reconciling Psychology with Economics - Obesity, Behavioral Biology, and Rational Overeating," Working Papers 2006-4, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University.
  5. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2005. "Healthy living in hard times," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 341-363, March.
  6. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic status and health in childhood: the origins of the gradient," Working Papers 262, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  7. Partha Dasgupta & Eric Maskin, 2004. "Uncertainty and Hyperbolic Discounting," Economics Working Papers 0023, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  8. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 93-118, Summer.
  9. 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.
  10. Nord, Mark & Andrews, Margaret S. & Carlson, Steven, 2004. "Household Food Security In The United States, 2003," Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports 33835, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  11. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
  12. Trenton G. Smith & Attila Tasnádi, 2005. "A Theory of Natural Addiction," Microeconomics 0503006, EconWPA.
  13. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1996. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," NBER Working Papers 5570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Kowalski Amanda E. & Congdon William J. & Showalter Mark H., 2008. "State Health Insurance Regulations and the Price of High-Deductible Policies," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(2), pages 1-26, November.
  15. Jay Bhattacharya & Neeraj Sood, 2005. "Health Insurance and the Obesity Externality," NBER Working Papers 11529, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Cutler, David & Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. Albert J. Reed & J. William Levedahl & Charles Hallahan, 2005. "The Generalized Composite Commodity Theorem and Food Demand Estimation," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 87(1), pages 28-37.
  18. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  19. Gruber, Jonathan & Frakes, Michael, 2006. "Does falling smoking lead to rising obesity?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 183-197, March.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Alexiadis, Stilianos & Eleftheriou, Konstantinos, 2011. "Health is wealth: an empirical note across the US states," MPRA Paper 33517, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Avner Offer & Rachel Pechey & Stanley Ulijaszek, 2010. "Obesity under affluence varies by welfare regimes: the effect of fast food, insecurity, and inequality," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _082, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  3. Trenton Smith & Hayley Chouinard & Philip Wandschneider, 2009. "Waiting for the Invisible Hand: Market Power and Endogenous Information in the Modern Market for Food," Working Papers 2009-07, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University.
  4. Akee, Randall K. Q. & Simeonova, Emilia & Copeland, William & Angold, Adrian & Costello, Jane E., 2010. "Does More Money Make You Fat? The Effects of Quasi-Experimental Income Transfers on Adolescent and Young Adult Obesity," IZA Discussion Papers 5135, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Hübler, Olaf, 2012. "Are Tall People Less Risk Averse than Others?," IZA Discussion Papers 6441, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Eleftheriou, Konstantinos & Athanasiou, George, 2010. "Labour Market, Obesity and Public Policy Considerations," MPRA Paper 20926, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Trenton Smith, 2006. "Reconciling Psychology with Economics - Obesity, Behavioral Biology, and Rational Overeating," Working Papers 2006-4, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University.
  8. Ljungvall, Åsa, 2013. "The Freer the Fatter? A Panel Study of the Relationship between Body-Mass Index and Economic Freedom," Working Papers 2013:23, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  9. R Nakamura & L Siciliani, 2010. "Education and Body Mass Index: Evidence from ECHP," Discussion Papers 10/04, Department of Economics, University of York.
  10. Todeschini, F.; & Labeaga, J.; & Jiménez-Martín, S.;, 2010. "Death by lung cancer or by diabetes? The unintended consequences of quitting smoking," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 10/16, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  11. Sergi Jiménez-Martín & Federico A. Todeschini & José María Labeaga, 2010. "Killing by lung cancer or by diabetes? The trade-off between smoking and obesity," Economics Working Papers 1218, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  12. Avner Offer & Rachel Pechey and Stanley Ulijaszek, 2010. "Obesity under affluence varies by welfare regimes: The effect of fast food, insecurity, and inequality," Economics Series Working Papers Number 82, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  13. Averett, Susan L. & Smith, Julie K., 2012. "Indebted and Overweight: The Link Between Weight and Household Debt," IZA Discussion Papers 6898, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Trenton Smith & Hayley Chouinard & Philip Wandschneider, 2009. "Waiting for the Invisible Hand: Novel Products and the Role of Information in the Modern Market for Food," Working Papers 2009-07, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University.
  15. Srinivasan, C.S., 2013. "Can adherence to dietary guidelines address excess caloric intake? An empirical assessment for the UK," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 574-591.
  16. Smith, Trenton G. & Stillman, Steven & Craig, Stuart, 2013. "The U.S. Obesity Epidemic:New Evidence from the Economic Security Index," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 151419, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  17. Wehby, George L. & Murray, Jeffrey C. & Wilcox, Allen & Lie, Rolv T., 2012. "Smoking and body weight: Evidence using genetic instruments," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 113-126.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wsu:wpaper:tgsmith-2. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Danielle Engelhardt).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.