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The wage effects of obesity: a longitudinal study

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  • Charles L. Baum

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

  • William F. Ford

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles L. Baum & William F. Ford, 2004. "The wage effects of obesity: a longitudinal study," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(9), pages 885-899.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:13:y:2004:i:9:p:885-899
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.881
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    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. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
    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. Blau, Francine D & Ferber, Marianne A, 1987. "Discrimination: Empirical Evidence from the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 316-320, May.
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