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

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • PAN, Jay & QIN, Xuezheng & LIU, Gordon G., 2013. "The impact of body size on urban employment: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 249-263.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:27:y:2013:i:c:p:249-263
    DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2012.04.006
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    Cited by:

    1. Larose, Samantha L. & Kpelitse, Koffi A. & Campbell, M. Karen & Zaric, Gregory S. & Sarma, Sisira, 2016. "Does obesity influence labour market outcomes among working-age adults? Evidence from Canadian longitudinal data," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 26-41.
    2. Levasseur, Pierre, 2017. "The ambiguous causal relationship between body-mass and labour income in emerging economies: The case of Mexico," MPRA Paper 81933, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Pierre LEVASSEUR, 2016. "The effects of bodyweight on wages in urban Mexico," Cahiers du GREThA 2016-18, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    4. Bonnefond, Céline & Clément, Matthieu, 2014. "Social class and body weight among Chinese urban adults: The role of the middle classes in the nutrition transition," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 22-29.
    5. Qin, Xuezheng & Pan, Jay & Liu, Gordon G., 2014. "Does participating in health insurance benefit the migrant workers in China? An empirical investigation," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 263-278.
    6. Eriksson, Tor & Pan, Jay & Qin, Xuezheng, 2014. "The intergenerational inequality of health in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 392-409.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Body size discrimination; Health channel; Esthetic channel;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand

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