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The association of obesity with the likelihood of arrest for young adults

  • Kalist, David E.
  • Siahaan, Freddy

This paper examines whether obesity is associated with the likelihood of arrest. We hypothesize that obese individuals are less likely to commit crime and be arrested because their body weights may prevent them from successfully engaging in certain criminal activities, particularly those that are physically intensive. To test this hypothesis, we use the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 and panel data techniques and find that obesity is negatively related to arrest. In one specification, for example, we found that the odds of an obese man being arrested are 64% of those of a healthy weight man. The social costs of obesity may be overstated if obesity reduces the likelihood of arrest because the obese are less criminally active.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics & Human Biology.

Volume (Year): 11 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 8-17

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:11:y:2013:i:1:p:8-17
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  1. Roy Wada & Erdal Tekin, 2007. "Body Composition and Wages," NBER Working Papers 13595, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Mocan, Naci & Tekin, Erdal, 2006. "Ugly Criminals," IZA Discussion Papers 2048, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. H. Naci Mocan & Daniel I. Rees, 1999. "Economic Conditions, Deterrence and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from Micro Data," NBER Working Papers 7405, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Charles L. Baum II & Christopher J. Ruhm, 2007. "Age, Socioeconomic Status and Obesity Growth," NBER Working Papers 13289, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. David S. Lee & Justin McCrary, 2005. "Crime, Punishment, and Myopia," NBER Working Papers 11491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Howard Bodenhorn & Gregory Price, 2009. "Crime and Body Weight in the Nineteenth Century: Was there a Relationship between Brawn, Employment Opportunities and Crime?," NBER Working Papers 15099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Carson, Scott Alan, 2009. "Racial differences in body mass indices of men imprisoned in 19th Century Texas," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 121-127, March.
  9. Price, Gregory N., 2009. "Obesity and crime: Is there a relationship?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 103(3), pages 149-152, June.
  10. Carson, Scott Alan, 2007. "Mexican body mass index values in the late-19th-century American West," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 37-47, March.
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