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Gluttony And Sloth? Calories, Labor Market Activity And The Rise Of Obesity

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  • Rachel Griffith
  • Rodrigo Lluberas
  • Melanie Lührmann

Abstract

The rise in obesity has largely been attributed to an increase in calorie consumption. We show that official government household survey data indicate that levels of calorie consumption have declined in England between 1980 and 2013; while there has been an increase in calories from food eaten out at restaurants, fast food, soft drinks and confectionery, overall there has been a decrease in total calories purchased. Households have shifted towards more expensive calories, both by substituting away from home production towards market production, and substituting towards higher quality foods. We show that the decline in calories can be partially, but not entirely, rationalized with weight gain by a decline in the strenuousness of work and daily life. (JEL: D12, I12, I18)

Suggested Citation

  • Rachel Griffith & Rodrigo Lluberas & Melanie Lührmann, 2016. "Gluttony And Sloth? Calories, Labor Market Activity And The Rise Of Obesity," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(6), pages 1253-1286, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:14:y:2016:i:6:p:1253-1286
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/jeea.12183
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    3. Hannah Ameye & Jo Swinnen, 2019. "Obesity, income and gender: the changing global relationship," Working Papers of LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance 649035, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB), LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance.
    4. Martina Celidoni & Chiara Dal Bianco & Vincenzo Rebba & Guglielmo Weber, 2020. "Retirement and Healthy Eating," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 41(1), pages 199-219, March.
    5. Stephanie von Hinke, 2022. "Education, Dietary Intakes and Exercise," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 84(1), pages 214-240, February.
    6. Biondi, Beatrice & Castiglione, Concetta & Mazzocchi, Mario, 2021. "Demand drivers and changes in food-related emissions in the UK: A decomposition approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 188(C).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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