Assessing the impact of obesity on labor market outcomes
We study the effect of obesity on employment, using rich data from the British National Child Development Study (NCDS). The results show a significant negative association between obesity and employment even after controlling for a rich set of demographic, socioeconomic, environmental and behavioral variables. In order to account for the endogeneity of obesity, we use and assess instruments introduced by Cawley (2004); the obesity status of biological relatives. Using parental obesity as an instrument, we show that the association between obesity and employment is no longer significant. Similar results are obtained in a model of first differences. We provide a number of different checks on the instruments, by exploiting the richness of the NCDS data. The results show mixed evidence regarding the validity of the instruments.
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