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Happy House: Spousal weight and individual well-being

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  • Clark, A.;
  • Etilé, F.;

Abstract

We use life satisfaction and Body Mass Index (BMI) information from three waves of the GSOEP to test for social interactions in BMI between spouses. Semi-parametric regressions show that partner’s BMI is, beyond a certain level, negatively correlated with own satisfaction. Own BMI is positively correlated with satisfaction in thin men, and negatively correlated with satisfaction after some threshold. Critically, this latter threshold increases with partner’s BMI when the individual is overweight. The negative well-being impact of own BMI is thus lower when the individual’s partner is heavier. This is consistent with social contagion effects in weight. However, this cross-partial effect is insignificant in instrumental variable regressions, suggesting that the uninstrumented relationship reflects selection on the marriage market or omitted variables, rather than contagion.

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Paper provided by HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York in its series Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers with number 10/10.

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Date of creation: Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:10/10

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Keywords: Obesity; subjective well-being; BMI; social interactions;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. N Powdthavee, 2008. "Ill-Health as a Household Norm: Evidence from Other People's Health Problems," Discussion Papers 08/21, Department of Economics, University of York.
  2. Andrew E. Clark, 2008. "Happiness, habits and high rank: Comparisons in economic and social life," PSE Working Papers halshs-00586049, HAL.
  3. Jan Goebel & Christian Krekel & Tim Tiefenbach & Nicolas R. Ziebarth, 2013. "Natural Disaster, Policy Action, and Mental Well-Being: The Case of Fukushima," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 599, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  4. Clark, Andrew E. & Etilé, Fabrice, 2011. "Happy house: Spousal weight and individual well-being," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 1124-1136.
  5. Blázquez, Maite & Budría, Santiago, 2011. "Deprivation and Subjective Well-being: Evidence from Panel Data," Working Papers in Economic Theory 2011/08, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History).
  6. Redzo Mujcic & Paul Frijters, 2013. "Conspicuous Consumption, Conspicuous Health, and Optimal Taxation," Discussion Papers Series 483, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  7. Andrew E. Clark, 2008. "Happiness, habits and high rank: Comparisons in economic and social life," Working Papers halshs-00586049, HAL.
  8. Robert J. B. Goudie & Sach Mukherjee & Jan-Emmanuel De Neve & Andrew J. Oswald & Stephen Wu, 2011. "Happiness as a Driver of Risk-Avoiding Behavior," CESifo Working Paper Series 3451, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Brodeur, Abel, 2013. "Smoking, Income and Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from Smoking Bans," IZA Discussion Papers 7357, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Abel Brodeur, 2012. "Smoking, Income and Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from Smoking Bans," Working Papers halshs-00664269, HAL.
  11. Andrew E. Clark & Orsolya Lelkes, 2009. "Let us pray: religious interactions in life satisfaction," Working Papers halshs-00566120, HAL.
  12. Andrew E. Clark, 2009. "Work, jobs and well-being across the Millennium," Working Papers halshs-00566139, HAL.
  13. Tumen, Semih & Zeydanli, Tugba, 2014. "Is Happiness Contagious? Separating Spillover Externalities from the Group-Level Social Context," MPRA Paper 53184, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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