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Does legal heritage affect obesity? The channel of motor vehicle dependence

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  • Carlin, Paul S.
  • Kidd, Michael P.
  • Ulubaşoğlu, Mehmet A.

Abstract

We find a robust relationship between motor vehicle ownership, its interaction with legal heritage and obesity in OECD countries. Our estimates indicate that an increase of 100 motor vehicles per thousand residents is associated with about a 6% point increase in obesity in common law countries, whereas it has a much smaller or insignificant impact in civil law countries. These relations hold whether we examine trend data and simple correlations, or conduct cross-section or panel data regression analysis. Our results suggest that obesity rises with motor vehicle ownership in countries following a common law tradition where individual liberty is encouraged, whereas the link is small or statistically non-existent in countries with a civil law background where the rights of the individual tend to be circumscribed by the power of the state.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlin, Paul S. & Kidd, Michael P. & Ulubaşoğlu, Mehmet A., 2013. "Does legal heritage affect obesity? The channel of motor vehicle dependence," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 621-633.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:41:y:2013:i:2:p:621-633
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jce.2012.09.001
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Common law; Civil law; Obesity; Motor vehicles; OECD;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies
    • P51 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Analysis of Economic Systems

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