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A Silver Lining? The Connection Between Gasoline Prices And Obesity

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  • CHARLES COURTEMANCHE

Abstract

I find evidence of a negative association between gasoline prices and body weight using a fixed effects model with several robustness checks. I also show that increases in gas prices are associated with additional walking and a reduction in the frequency with which people eat at restaurants, explaining their effect on weight. My estimates imply that 8% of the rise in obesity between 1979 and 2004 can be attributed to the concurrent drop in real gas prices, and that a permanent $1 increase in gasoline prices would reduce overweight and obesity in the U.S. by 7% and 10%.
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Suggested Citation

  • Charles Courtemanche, 2011. "A Silver Lining? The Connection Between Gasoline Prices And Obesity," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(3), pages 935-957, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:49:y:2011:i:3:p:935-957
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    Cited by:

    1. Li, Shanjun & Liu, Yanyan & Zhang, Junjie, 2011. "Lose some, save some: Obesity, automobile demand, and gasoline consumption," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 52-66, January.
    2. Jeon, Hocheol, 2014. "Does obesity matter for the Environment? Evidence from Vehicle Choices and Driving," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 170550, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Charles J. Courtemanche & Joshua C. Pinkston & Christopher J. Ruhm & George L. Wehby, 2016. "Can Changing Economic Factors Explain the Rise in Obesity?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 1266-1310, April.
    4. Boyd-Swan, Casey & Herbst, Chris M., 2012. "Pain at the pump: Gasoline prices and subjective well-being," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 160-175.
    5. Charles Courtemanche & Garth Heutel & Patrick McAlvanah, 2015. "Impatience, Incentives and Obesity," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(582), pages 1-31, February.
    6. Bütikofer, Aline & Riise, Julie & Skira, Meghan, 2018. "The Impact of Paid Maternity Leave on Maternal Health," Working Papers in Economics 1/18, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
    7. Dragone, Davide & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2017. "Non-separable time preferences, novelty consumption and body weight: Theory and evidence from the East German transition to capitalism," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 41-65.
    8. Brady P. Horn & Johanna Catherine Maclean & Michael R. Strain, 2017. "Do Minimum Wage Increases Influence Worker Health?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(4), pages 1986-2007, October.
    9. Dragone, D. & Ziebarth, N.R., 2015. "Non-Separable Time Preferences and Novelty Consumption: Theory and Evidence from the East German Transition to Capitalism," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 15/28, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    10. Patricia I. Ritter, 2018. "Soda Consumption in the Tropics: The Trade-Off between Obesity and Diarrhea in Developing Countries," Working papers 2018-16, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2019.
    11. repec:rre:publsh:v47:y:2017:i:3:p:309-329 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Wehby, George L. & Courtemanche, Charles J., 2012. "The heterogeneity of the cigarette price effect on body mass index," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 719-729.
    13. Dragone, Davide & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2015. "Economic Development, Novelty Consumption, and Body Weight: Evidence from the East German Transition to Capitalism," IZA Discussion Papers 8967, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. repec:eee:jhecon:v:57:y:2018:i:c:p:31-44 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Anthony Yezer & Stephen Popick, 2016. "Climate Preferences, Obesity, and Unobserved Heretogeneity in Cities," Working Papers 2016-3, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    16. Sung, Jaesang, 2017. "The Impact of Housing Prices on Health in U.S. Before, During and After the Great Recession," MPRA Paper 78831, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Courtemanche, Charles & Tchernis, Rusty & Ukert, Benjamin, 2018. "The effect of smoking on obesity: Evidence from a randomized trial," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 31-44.

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    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

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