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Does Employee Body Weight Affect Employers' Behavior?

Author

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  • Lene Kromann

    () (School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus, Denmark)

Abstract

This paper offers a study of possible favoritism of normal-weight individuals when firms make decisions on hiring, firing and promoting. Most existing studies use a wage equation to document dispersion in wages between normal- and overweight, however little is known about the reason for dispersion. Furthermore, the wage equations do not capture the sorting of workers into different occupations and industries. Using an equilibrium search model, this paper takes search friction and cross-firm differences in factor productivity into account, when looking at firm behavior. Addition- ally, a logit model is used to examine the occupation and industry distribution. Most importantly, we find that wage differences between normal-weight and overweight or obese workers are explained by differential firm behavior, both with respect to the job offer arrival rate and to the probability of being promoted. Further, we find that the trade industry hire overweight workers to a lesser extent than other industries.

Suggested Citation

  • Lene Kromann, 2009. "Does Employee Body Weight Affect Employers' Behavior?," Economics Working Papers 2009-04, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
  • Handle: RePEc:aah:aarhec:2009-04
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    File URL: ftp://ftp.econ.au.dk/afn/wp/09/wp09_04.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
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    18. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2004:94:3:468-472_0 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Overweight; Firm behavior; Equilibrium Search Model; Multinomial Logit;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

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