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Body Size, Skills, and Income: Evidence From 150,000 Teenage Siblings

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  • Petter Lundborg
  • Paul Nystedt

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  • Dan-Olof Rooth

Abstract

We provide new evidence on the long-run labor market penalty of teenage overweight and obesity using unique and large-scale data on 150,000 male siblings from the Swedish military enlistment. Our empirical analysis provides four important results. First, we provide the first evidence of a large adult male labor market penalty for being overweight or obese as a teenager. Second, we replicate this result using data from the United States and the United Kingdom. Third, we note a strikingly strong within-family relationship between body size and cognitive skills/noncognitive skills. Fourth, a large part of the estimated body-size penalty reflects lower skill acquisition among overweight and obese teenagers. Taken together, these results reinforce the importance of policy combating early-life obesity in order to reduce healthcare expenditures as well as poverty and inequalities later in life. Copyright Population Association of America 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Petter Lundborg & Paul Nystedt & Dan-Olof Rooth, 2014. "Body Size, Skills, and Income: Evidence From 150,000 Teenage Siblings," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(5), pages 1573-1596, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:51:y:2014:i:5:p:1573-1596
    DOI: 10.1007/s13524-014-0325-6
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. David Neumark, 2016. "Experimental Research on Labor Market Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 22022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ghimire, Ramesh & Ferreira, Susana & Green, Gary T. & Poudyal, Neelam C. & Cordell, H. Ken & Thapa, Janani R., 2017. "Green Space and Adult Obesity in the United States," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 201-212.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. repec:aea:jeclit:v:56:y:2018:i:3:p:799-866 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Grönqvist, Erik & Vlachos, Jonas, 2016. "One size fits all? The effects of teachers' cognitive and social abilities on student achievement," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 138-150.
    7. repec:eee:socmed:v:222:y:2019:i:c:p:305-314 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:29:y:2018:i:c:p:31-41 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. 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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    Keywords

    Obesity; Overweight; Discrimination; Earnings; Skills;

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