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Do body weight and gender shape the work force? The case of Iceland

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  • Asgeirsdottir, Tinna Laufey

Abstract

Most studies of the relationship between body weight - as well as its corollary, beauty - and labor-market outcomes have indicated that it is a function of a gender bias, the negative relationship between excess weight or obesity and labor-market outcomes being greater for women than for men. Iceland offers an exceptional opportunity to examine this hypothesis, given that it scores relatively well on an index of gender equality comprising economic, political, educational, labor-market, and health-based criteria. Equipped with an advanced level of educational attainment, on average, women are well represented in Iceland's labor force. When it comes to women's presence in the political sphere, Iceland is out of the ordinary as well; that Icelanders were the first in the world to elect a woman to be president may suggest a relatively gender-blind assessment in the labor market. In the current study, survey data collected by Gallup Iceland in 2002 are used to examine the relationship between weight and employment within this political and social setting. Point estimates indicate that, despite apparently lesser gender discrimination in Iceland than elsewhere, the bias against excess weight and obesity remains gender-based, showing a slightly negative relationship between weight and the employment rate of women, whereas a slightly positive relationship was found for men.

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  • Asgeirsdottir, Tinna Laufey, 2011. "Do body weight and gender shape the work force? The case of Iceland," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 148-156, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:9:y:2011:i:2:p:148-156
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Morris, Stephen, 2007. "The impact of obesity on employment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 413-433, June.
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    3. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Palermo, Tia M. & Dowd, Jennifer B., 2012. "Childhood obesity and human capital accumulation," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(11), pages 1989-1998.
    2. Kinge, Jonas Minet, 2016. "Waist circumference, body mass index and employment outcomes," HERO On line Working Paper Series 2016:4, Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme.
    3. Larose, Samantha L. & Kpelitse, Koffi A. & Campbell, M. Karen & Zaric, Gregory S. & Sarma, Sisira, 2016. "Does obesity influence labour market outcomes among working-age adults? Evidence from Canadian longitudinal data," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 26-41.
    4. Mosca, Irene, 2013. "Body mass index, waist circumference and employment: Evidence from older Irish adults," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 522-533.
    5. Kinge, Jonas Minet, 2015. "Body mass index and employment status: a new look," HERO On line Working Paper Series 2015:3, Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme.
    6. Kinge, Jonas Minet, 2016. "Body mass index and employment status: A new look," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 117-125.
    7. Mosca, Irene, 2012. "Obesity and Employment in Ireland: Moving Beyond BMI," Papers WP431, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    8. repec:spr:eujhec:v:18:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s10198-016-0833-y is not listed on IDEAS

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