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The impact of overweight and obesity on unemployment duration among young American workers

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  • Groves, Jeremy
  • Wilcox, Virginia

Abstract

Obesity has a profound effect on the working careers of Americans. Prior studies pertaining to workers in other countries report that obese women experienced longer spells of unemployment than normal weight peers. However, the effect of obesity on unemployment duration has not been studied for American workers. To address this gap in the literature, we report estimates of the effects of overweight and obesity from a proportional hazards model of unemployment duration that controls for unobserved individual characteristics. Using a data sample of young workers drawn from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1997), our findings indicate that, on average, overweight and obese job seekers experienced significantly longer spells of unemployment. The effects differed by race, sex, and ethnicity: Overweight and obese White and Black women experienced significantly longer spells than White women with normal body mass index (BMI) levels. Although overweight White and Black men had longer unemployment spells compared to White men with normal BMI levels, the magnitudes were smaller than those for White and Black women. In contrast, overweight Hispanic women had shorter duration of unemployment spells compared to White women with normal BMI levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Groves, Jeremy & Wilcox, Virginia, 2023. "The impact of overweight and obesity on unemployment duration among young American workers," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 51(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:51:y:2023:i:c:s1570677x23000618
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2023.101280
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Obesity; Unemployment duration; Gender differences; Hazard rate models;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J - Labor and Demographic Economics
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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