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An economy of scales: A selective review of obesity's economic causes, consequences, and solutions

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  • Cawley, John

Abstract

This paper reviews the economic research on obesity, covering topics such as the measurement of, and trends in, obesity, the economic causes of obesity (e.g. the monetary price and time cost of food, food assistance programs, income, education, macroeconomic conditions, and peer effects), and the economic consequences of obesity (e.g. lower wages, a lower probability of employment, and higher medical care costs). It also examines the extent to which obesity imposes negative externalities, and economic interventions that could potentially internalize such externalities, such as food taxes, subsidies for school-based physical activity programs, and financial rewards for weight loss. It discusses other economic rationales for government intervention with respect to obesity, such as imperfect information, time inconsistent preferences, and irrational behavior. It concludes by proposing a research agenda for the field.

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  • Cawley, John, 2015. "An economy of scales: A selective review of obesity's economic causes, consequences, and solutions," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 244-268.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:43:y:2015:i:c:p:244-268
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2015.03.001
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    18. Giuntella, Osea & Mazzonna, Fabrizio, 2016. "If You Don't Snooze You Lose: Evidence on Health and Weight," IZA Discussion Papers 9773, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Obesity; Diet; Physical activity; Nutrition;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • L66 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Food; Beverages; Cosmetics; Tobacco

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

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