IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Labour market, obesity and public policy considerations


  • Konstantinos Eleftheriou

    () (College of Business Administration, Abu Dhabi University, United Arab Emirates)

  • George Athanasiou

    () (Department of Mathematics, National Technical University of Athens, Greece)

  • Periklis Kougoulis

    () (College of Business Administration, Abu Dhabi University, United Arab Emirates)


This paper attempts to investigate the relation among wages, unemployment, obesity and to identify public policies to address the problem of over-weightness. To this purpose, a simple search and matching model of labour market is developed. Our framework tries to capture the relationship between obesity and employment/unemployment by assuming that the fraction of obese workers is a function of the ratio of vacant jobs to unemployment (labour market tightness). We argue that if obesity is positively related with employment, then socially optimality dictates the imposition of a lump-sum tax on all individuals. In the opposite case a subsidy should be given.

Suggested Citation

  • Konstantinos Eleftheriou & George Athanasiou & Periklis Kougoulis, 2013. "Labour market, obesity and public policy considerations," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(1), pages 783-793.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-12-00829

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stefan Mann, 2008. "Framing Obesity in Economic Theory and Policy," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 66(2), pages 163-179.
    2. Brunello, Giorgio & D'Hombres, Beatrice, 2007. "Does body weight affect wages?: Evidence from Europe," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 1-19, March.
    3. Komlos, John & Smith, Patricia K. & Bogin, Barry, 2003. "Obesity and the Rate of Time Preference: Is there a Connection?," Discussion Papers in Economics 60, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    4. Greve, Jane, 2008. "Obesity and labor market outcomes in Denmark," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 350-362, December.
    5. Morris, Stephen, 2006. "Body mass index and occupational attainment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 347-364, March.
    6. Cawley, John, 2008. "Contingent valuation analysis of willingness to pay to reduce childhood obesity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 281-292, July.
    7. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650.
    8. Smith Trenton G. & Stoddard Christiana & Barnes Michael G, 2009. "Why the Poor Get Fat: Weight Gain and Economic Insecurity," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(2), pages 1-31, June.
    9. Euna Han & Edward C. Norton & Sally C. Stearns, 2009. "Weight and wages: fat versus lean paychecks," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 535-548.
    10. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
    11. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2003. "Good times make you sick," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 637-658, July.
    12. Morris, Stephen, 2007. "The impact of obesity on employment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 413-433, June.
    13. Tomas Philipson, 2001. "The world-wide growth in obesity: an economic research agenda," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(1), pages 1-7.
    14. Charles L. Baum & William F. Ford, 2004. "The wage effects of obesity: a longitudinal study," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(9), pages 885-899.
    15. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Cawley, John, 2008. "Beyond BMI: The value of more accurate measures of fatness and obesity in social science research," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 519-529, March.
    16. Arthur J. Hosios, 1990. "On The Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 279-298.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Obesity; Taxation; Unemployment; Wages;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-12-00829. 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: (John P. Conley). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.