IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jhecon/v57y2018icp113-130.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The effect of weight on mental health: New evidence using genetic IVs

Author

Listed:
  • Willage, Barton

Abstract

Average body mass index (BMI) and depression prevalence grew over the last several decades, increasing medical expenditures. There is a strong correlation between obesity and depression but limited evidence on the causal effect of weight on mental health. I use an index of genetic risk for high BMI as a source of exogenous variation in weight to provide novel evidence on the effect of weight on mental health. This is one of the first studies to use genetics as an instrument for BMI and to examine the causal relationship between weight and depression. Results are mixed; I find a meaningful and significant effect of weight on suicidal ideation but no effects on counseling and an index of depression. The effect on suicidal ideation is concentrated in white females. From respondent and interviewer opinions of respondent attractiveness, social stigma is a mechanism through which weight affects mental health for white women.

Suggested Citation

  • Willage, Barton, 2018. "The effect of weight on mental health: New evidence using genetic IVs," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 113-130.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:57:y:2018:i:c:p:113-130
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2017.11.003
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167629617303223
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.jhealeco.2017.11.003?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Christian A. Gregory & Christopher J. Ruhm, 2011. "Where Does the Wage Penalty Bite?," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Aspects of Obesity, pages 315-347, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gary Solon & Steven J. Haider & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2015. "What Are We Weighting For?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(2), pages 301-316.
    3. Joseph Sabia & Daniel Rees, 2015. "Body weight, mental health capital, and academic achievement," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 653-684, September.
    4. John Cawley, 2007. "The Labor Market Impact of Obesity," Chapters, in: Zoltán J. Ács & Alan Lyles (ed.), Obesity, Business and Public Policy, chapter 5, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Susan L. Averett, 2019. "Obesity and labor market outcomes," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 1-32, August.
    6. Edward C. Norton & Euna Han, 2008. "Genetic information, obesity, and labor market outcomes," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(9), pages 1089-1104, September.
    7. Petri Böckerman & John Cawley & Jutta Viinikainen & Terho Lehtimäki & Suvi Rovio & Ilkka Seppälä & Jaakko Pehkonen & Olli Raitakari, 2019. "The effect of weight on labor market outcomes: An application of genetic instrumental variables," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(1), pages 65-77, January.
    8. Susan Averett & Sanders Korenman, 1996. "The Economic Reality of the Beauty Myth," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 304-330.
    9. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Karen E. Norberg, 2001. "Explaining the Rise in Youth Suicide," NBER Chapters, in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 219-270, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. repec:iza:izawol:journl:y:2014:p:32 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Fletcher, Jason M. & Lehrer, Steven F., 2011. "Genetic lotteries within families," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 647-659, July.
    12. von Hinke, Stephanie & Davey Smith, George & Lawlor, Debbie A. & Propper, Carol & Windmeijer, Frank, 2016. "Genetic markers as instrumental variables," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 131-148.
    13. Cawley, John & Meyerhoefer, Chad, 2012. "The medical care costs of obesity: An instrumental variables approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 219-230.
    14. Böckerman, Petri & Viinikainen, Jutta & Vainiomäki, Jari & Hintsanen, Mirka & Pitkänen, Niina & Lehtimäki, Terho & Pehkonen, Jaakko & Rovio, Suvi & Raitakari, Olli, 2017. "Stature and long-term labor market outcomes: Evidence using Mendelian randomization," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 18-29.
    15. A. Colin Cameron & Douglas L. Miller, 2015. "A Practitioner’s Guide to Cluster-Robust Inference," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(2), pages 317-372.
    16. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
    17. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Soss, Neal M, 1974. "An Economic Theory of Suicide," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 83-98, Jan.-Feb..
    18. Ding, Weili & Lehrer, Steven F. & Rosenquist, J.Niels & Audrain-McGovern, Janet, 2009. "The impact of poor health on academic performance: New evidence using genetic markers," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 578-597, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Hasanzadeh, Samira & Alishahi, Modjgan, 2020. "COVID-19 Pounds: Quarantine and Weight Gain," MPRA Paper 103074, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Amin, Vikesh & Flores, Carlos A. & Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso, 2020. "The impact of BMI on mental health: Further evidence from genetic markers," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 38(C).
    3. Clément, Matthieu & Levasseur, Pierre & Seetahul, Suneha & Piaser, Lucie, 2021. "Does inequality have a silver lining? Municipal income inequality and obesity in Mexico," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 272(C).
    4. Jun Wang & Qihui Chen & Gang Chen & Yingxiang Li & Guoshu Kong & Chen Zhu, 2020. "What is creating the height premium? New evidence from a Mendelian randomization analysis in China," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(4), pages 1-20, April.
    5. Hafner, Lucas & Tauchmann, Harald & Wübker, Ansgar, 2017. "Does moderate weight loss affect subjective health perception in obese individuals? Evidence from field experimental data," Ruhr Economic Papers 730, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    6. Hasanzadeh, Samira & Alishahi, Modjgan, 2020. "COVID-19 Pounds: Quarantine and Weight Gain," MPRA Paper 102679, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Christoph F. Kurz & Michael Laxy, 2020. "Application of Mendelian Randomization to Investigate the Association of Body Mass Index with Health Care Costs," Medical Decision Making, , vol. 40(2), pages 156-169, February.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Dixon, Padraig & Hollingworth, William & Harrison, Sean & Davies, Neil M. & Davey Smith, George, 2020. "Mendelian Randomization analysis of the causal effect of adiposity on hospital costs," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
    2. von Hinke Kessler Scholder, Stephanie & Davey Smith, George & Lawlor, Debbie A. & Propper, Carol & Windmeijer, Frank, 2012. "The effect of fat mass on educational attainment: Examining the sensitivity to different identification strategies," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 405-418.
    3. Nuñez, Roy, 2020. "Obesity and labor market in Peru," MPRA Paper 105621, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Md. Alauddin Majumder, 2013. "Does Obesity Matter for Wages? Evidence from the United States," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 32(2), pages 200-217, June.
    5. Caliendo, Marco & Gehrsitz, Markus, 2016. "Obesity and the labor market: A fresh look at the weight penalty," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 209-225.
    6. von Hinke, Stephanie & Davey Smith, George & Lawlor, Debbie A. & Propper, Carol & Windmeijer, Frank, 2016. "Genetic markers as instrumental variables," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 131-148.
    7. Joseph Sabia & Daniel Rees, 2015. "Body weight, mental health capital, and academic achievement," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 653-684, September.
    8. Petri Böckerman & John Cawley & Jutta Viinikainen & Terho Lehtimäki & Suvi Rovio & Ilkka Seppälä & Jaakko Pehkonen & Olli Raitakari, 2019. "The effect of weight on labor market outcomes: An application of genetic instrumental variables," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(1), pages 65-77, January.
    9. Kinge, Jonas Minet, 2015. "Body mass index and employment status: a new look," HERO Online Working Paper Series 2015:3, University of Oslo, Health Economics Research Programme.
    10. Shoshana Grossbard & Sankar Mukhopadhyay, 2017. "Marriage markets as explanation for why heavier people work more hours," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 6(1), pages 1-30, December.
    11. Pagan, Ricardo & Haro, Carmen Ordóñez de & Sánchez, Carlos Rivas, 2016. "Obesity, job satisfaction and disability at older ages in Europe," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 42-54.
    12. Susan Averett & Laura Argys & Jennifer Kohn, 2012. "Immigration, obesity and labor market outcomes in the UK," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 1(1), pages 1-19, December.
    13. Margareta Dackehag & Ulf-G. Gerdtham & Martin Nordin, 2015. "Productivity or discrimination? An economic analysis of excess-weight penalty in the Swedish labor market," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 16(6), pages 589-601, July.
    14. Jonas Minet Kinge, 2017. "Waist circumference, body mass index, and employment outcomes," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 18(6), pages 787-799, July.
    15. Kinge, Jonas Minet, 2016. "Waist circumference, body mass index and employment outcomes," HERO Online Working Paper Series 2016:4, University of Oslo, Health Economics Research Programme.
    16. Christina Hansen Edwards & Johan Håkon Bjørngaard & Jonas Minet Kinge, 2021. "The relationship between body mass index and income: Using genetic variants from HUNT as instrumental variables," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(8), pages 1933-1949, August.
    17. Hafner, Lucas & Tauchmann, Harald & Wübker, Ansgar, 2017. "Does moderate weight loss affect subjective health perception in obese individuals? Evidence from field experimental data," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 26/2017, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.
    18. 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.
    19. Kinge, Jonas Minet, 2016. "Body mass index and employment status: A new look," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 117-125.
    20. Alfonso Flores-Lagunes & Vikesh Amin & Jere R. Behrman & Jason M. Fletcher & Carlos A. Flores & Hans-Peter Kohler, 2020. "Genetic Risks, Adolescent Health and Schooling Attainment," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 232, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:57:y:2018:i:c:p:113-130. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560 .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.