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The impact of body size on urban employment: Evidence from China

  • PAN, Jay
  • QIN, Xuezheng
  • LIU, Gordon G.

This paper tests whether body size affects employment status in the Chinese urban labor market. Based on Urban Resident Basic Medical Insurance (URBMI) survey data, we find that body size has an inverted U-shaped effect on the probability of being employed when human capital and other factors are controlled, indicating the existence of “body size discrimination”. Based on our results, the optimal BMI for employment is estimated to be 22.7 for female and 24.3 for male. Further studies show that the “health channel” and the “esthetic channel” play an important role in forming the body size discrimination among both male and female. Furthermore, we find that the employment type (formal employment vs. informal employment) is also affected by body size. Our paper provides new evidence on the impact of body size on employment, and reveals new characteristics of the Chinese urban labor market.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal China Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 27 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 249-263

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Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:27:y:2013:i:c:p:249-263
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/chieco

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