Where Does the Wage Penalty Bite?
In: Economic Aspects of Obesity
The literature examining the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and wages has fairly consistently found that BMI has a negative impact on earnings for women, and less (if any) consequences for men. In this paper, we relax the assumption -- largely unquestioned in this research -- that the conditional mean of wages is linear or piecewise linear in body mass index (BMI). Using data from the 1986 and 1999-2005 Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we estimate semi-parametric wage models that allow earnings to vary with BMI in a highly flexible manner. For women, the results show that earnings peak at levels far below the clinical threshold of "obesity" or even "overweight". For men, our main estimates suggest a reasonably flat BMI-wage profile that peaks early in the "overweight" category. However, the results of instrumental variables (IV) models or specifications focusing on long-lags of BMI are more similar to those for women. The findings for females (and the IV estimates for males) suggest that it is not obesity but rather some other factor -- such as physical attractiveness -- that produces the observed relationship between BMI and wages. We also provide non-parametric estimates of the association between BMI and health expenditures, using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. These cast further doubt on the hypothesis that the wage penalties associated with increasing BMI occur because the latter serve as an index for underlying medical costs.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
|This chapter was published in: ||This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number
11824.||Handle:|| RePEc:nbr:nberch:11824||Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Brendan Kline & Justin L. Tobias, 2008. "The wages of BMI: Bayesian analysis of a skewed treatment-response model with nonparametric endogeneity," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(6), pages 767-793.
- Naci Mocan & Erdal Tekin, 2010.
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 92(1), pages 15-30, February.
- Duncan, Greg J & Hill, Daniel H, 1985. "An Investigation of the Extent and Consequences of Measurement Error in Labor-Economic Survey Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 508-32, October.
- Shin-Yi Chou & Michael Grossman & Henry Saffer, 2002.
"An Economic Analysis of Adult Obesity: Results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System,"
NBER Working Papers
9247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Chou, Shin-Yi & Grossman, Michael & Saffer, Henry, 2004. "An economic analysis of adult obesity: results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 565-587, May.
- Harper, Barry, 2000. " Beauty, Stature and the Labour Market: A British Cohort Study," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 62(0), pages 771-800, Special I.
- Jeff E. Biddle & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1995.
"Beauty, Productivity and Discrimination: Lawyers' Looks and Lucre,"
NBER Working Papers
5366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Biddle, Jeff E & Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1998. "Beauty, Productivity, and Discrimination: Lawyers' Looks and Lucre," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 172-201, January.
- Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997.
"Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments,"
Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
- Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Mobius, Markus & Rosenblat, Tanya, 2010.
"Why Beauty Matters,"
Staff General Research Papers
32112, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
- Burkhauser, Richard V. & Cawley, John, 2008.
"Beyond BMI: The value of more accurate measures of fatness and obesity in social science research,"
Journal of Health Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 519-529, March.
- John Cawley & Richard V. Burkhauser, 2006. "Beyond BMI: The Value of More Accurate Measures of Fatness and Obesity in Social Science Research," NBER Working Papers 12291, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Wada, Roy & Tekin, Erdal, 2010.
"Body composition and wages,"
Economics & Human Biology,
Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 242-254, July.
- John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
- Bound, John, et al, 1994. "Evidence on the Validity of Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Labor Market Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(3), pages 345-68, July.
- Robinson, Peter M, 1988. "Root- N-Consistent Semiparametric Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 931-54, July.
- 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.
- Jay Bhattacharya & M. Kate Bundorf, 2005. "The Incidence of the Healthcare Costs of Obesity," NBER Working Papers 11303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Bound, John & Brown, Charles & Mathiowetz, Nancy, 2001. "Measurement error in survey data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 59, pages 3705-3843 Elsevier.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11824. 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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.