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The wage effects of obesity: a longitudinal study

  • Charles L. Baum

    (Economics and Finance Department, Middle Tennessee State University, USA)

  • William F. Ford

    (Economics and Finance Department, Middle Tennessee State University, USA)

We use National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) data to examine the effects of obesity on wages by gender. Sample means indicate that both men and women experience a persistent obesity wage penalty over the first two decades of their careers. We then control for a standard set of socioeconomic and familial variables but find that standard covariates do not explain why obese workers experience persistent wage penalties. This suggests that other variables - including job discrimination, health-related factors and|or obese workers' behavior patterns - may be the channels through which obesity adversely affects wages. The study closes with a discussion of the public policy implications suggested by these findings. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/hec.881
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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 13 (2004)
Issue (Month): 9 ()
Pages: 885-899

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Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:13:y:2004:i:9:p:885-899
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

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  1. Blau, Francine D & Ferber, Marianne A, 1987. "Discrimination: Empirical Evidence from the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 316-20, May.
  2. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1986. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 41, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  3. Tomas Philipson, 2001. "The world-wide growth in obesity: an economic research agenda," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(1), pages 1-7.
  4. Paula England, 1982. "The Failure of Human Capital Theory to Explain Occupational Sex Segregation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(3), pages 358-370.
  5. Kaestner, Robert, 1991. "The Effect of Illicit Drug Use on the Wages of Young Adults," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(4), pages 381-412, October.
  6. Charles A. Register & Donald R. Williams, 1992. "Labor market effects of marijuana and cocaine use among young men," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 45(3), pages 435-451, April.
  7. 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.
  8. Andrew M. Gill & Robert J. Michaels, 1992. "Does drug use lower wages?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 45(3), pages 419-434, April.
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