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The incidence of the healthcare costs of obesity

  • Bhattacharya, Jay
  • Bundorf, M. Kate
Registered author(s):

    Who pays the healthcare costs associated with obesity? Among workers, this is largely a question of the incidence of the costs of employer-sponsored coverage. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, we find that the incremental healthcare costs associated with obesity are passed on to obese workers with employer-sponsored health insurance in the form of lower cash wages. Obese workers without employer-sponsored insurance do not have a wage offset relative to their non-obese counterparts. A substantial part of the lower wages among obese women attributed to labor market discrimination can be explained by their higher health insurance premiums.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V8K-4VXB8R2-1/2/0efc910987a9f90d111e1b96d1f503ef
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

    Volume (Year): 28 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 3 (May)
    Pages: 649-658

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:28:y:2009:i:3:p:649-658
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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    1. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
    2. Jay Bhattacharya & Darius Lakdawalla, 2004. "Time-Inconsistency and Welfare," NBER Working Papers 10345, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," NBER Working Papers 8946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 2, number 9780226041162.
    5. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    6. Jay Bhattacharya & Neeraj Sood, 2005. "Health Insurance and the Obesity Externality," NBER Working Papers 11529, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Gruber, Jonathan, 1994. "The Incidence of Mandated Maternity Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 622-41, June.
    8. Louise Sheiner, 1999. "Health care costs, wages, and aging," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-19, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    9. Summers, Lawrence H, 1989. "Some Simple Economics of Mandated Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 177-83, May.
    10. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
    11. Ehrlich, Isaac & Becker, Gary S, 1972. "Market Insurance, Self-Insurance, and Self-Protection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(4), pages 623-48, July-Aug..
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