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Body mass index and employment status: A new look

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  • Kinge, Jonas Minet

Abstract

Earlier literature has usually modelled the impact of obesity on employment status as a binary choice (employed, yes/no). I provide new evidence on the impact of obesity on employment status by treating the dependent variable as a as a multinomial choice variable. Using data from a representative English survey, with measured height and weight on parents and children, I define employment status as one of four: working; looking for paid work; permanently not working due to disability; and, looking after home or family. I use a multinomial logit model controlling for a set of covariates. I also run instrumental variable models, instrumenting for Body Mass Index (BMI) based on genetic variation in weight. I find that BMI and obesity significantly increase the probability of “not working due to disability”. The results for the other employment outcomes are less clear. My findings also indicate that BMI affects employment through its effect on health. Factors other than health may be less important in explaining the impact of BMI/obesity on employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Kinge, Jonas Minet, 2016. "Body mass index and employment status: A new look," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 117-125.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:22:y:2016:i:c:p:117-125
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2016.03.008
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    Cited by:

    1. Paolo Nicola Barbieri, 2018. "BMI and Employment: Is There an Overweight Premium?," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 4(3), pages 523-548, November.
    2. Kanazawa, Satoshi & Hu, Shihao & Larere, Adrien, 2018. "Why do very unattractive workers earn so much?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 189-197.
    3. MORIKAWA Masayuki, 2018. "Smoking, Obesity, and Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from Japan," Discussion papers 18023, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    4. Han, Seung-Yong & Brewis, Alexandra A. & SturtzSreetharan, Cindi, 2018. "Employment and weight status: The extreme case of body concern in South Korea," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 115-121.
    5. Jonas Minet Kinge, 2017. "Waist circumference, body mass index, and employment outcomes," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 18(6), pages 787-799, July.
    6. Crudu, Federico & Neri, Laura & Tiezzi, Silvia, 2018. "Family Ties and Children Obesity in Italy," MPRA Paper 90360, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 15 Oct 2018.
    7. Kelly, Inas R. & Doytch, Nadia & Dave, Dhaval, 2019. "How does body mass index affect economic growth? A comparative analysis of countries by levels of economic development," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 58-73.

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