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Assessing the impact of obesity on labor market outcomes

  • Lindeboom, Maarten
  • Lundborg, Petter
  • van der Klaauw, Bas

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

Volume (Year): 8 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (December)
Pages: 309-319

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:8:y:2010:i:3:p:309-319
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622964

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  1. Atella, Vincenzo & Pace, Noemi & Vuri, Daniela, 2008. "Are employers discriminating with respect to weight?: European Evidence using Quantile Regression," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 305-329, December.
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  4. John Cawley & Markus M. Grabka & Dean R. Lillard, 2005. "A Comparison of the Relationship between Obesity and Earnings in the U.S. and Germany," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 125(1), pages 119-129.
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  12. Brendan Kline & Justin L. Tobias, 2008. "The wages of BMI: Bayesian analysis of a skewed treatment-response model with nonparametric endogeneity," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(6), pages 767-793.
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  14. Lundborg, Petter & Nystedt, Paul & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2010. "No Country for Fat Men? Obesity, Earnings, Skills, and Health among 450,000 Swedish Men," IZA Discussion Papers 4775, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  16. Renna, Francesco & Grafova, Irina B. & Thakur, Nidhi, 2008. "The effect of friends on adolescent body weight," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 377-387, December.
  17. Greve, Jane, 2008. "Obesity and labor market outcomes in Denmark," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 350-362, December.
  18. Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005. "The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
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  21. Richard V. Burkhauser & John Cawley, 2004. "Obesity, Disability, and Movement Onto the Disability Insurance Rolls," Working Papers wp089, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
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