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Obesity and Happiness

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  • Marina-Selini Katsaiti

Abstract

This paper provides insight on the relationship between obesity and happiness. Using the latest available cross sectional data from Germany (GSOEP 2006), UK (BHPS 2005), and Australia (HILDA 2007). We examine whether there is evidence on the impact of overweight on subjective well being. The Hausman test is employed in the univariate and multivariate specifications chosen and reveals evidence for the presence of endogeneity in the German and the Australian data. Instrumental variable analysis is performed under the presence of endogeneity whereas for the UK we run OLS regressions. Results indicate that in all three countries obesity has a negative and significant effect on the subjective well being of individuals. For Germany, using a differences-in-differences methodology, I find that non-overweight/non-obese individuals are on average 0.5 units happier than their overweight/obese counterparts. Our findings also have important implications for the effect of other socio-demographic, economic and individual characteristics on well being.

Suggested Citation

  • Marina-Selini Katsaiti, 2010. "Obesity and Happiness," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 270, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp270
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2005. "Happiness Research: State and Prospects," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 63(2), pages 207-228.
    2. David G. Blanchflower, 2009. "International Evidence on Well-Being," NBER Chapters,in: Measuring the Subjective Well-Being of Nations: National Accounts of Time Use and Well-Being, pages 155-226 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
    4. Deaton, Angus & Arora, Raksha, 2009. "Life at the top: The benefits of height," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 133-136, July.
    5. Philip Shaw & Marina‐Selini Katsaiti & Marius Jurgilas, 2011. "Corruption And Growth Under Weak Identification," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(1), pages 264-275, January.
    6. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2000. "Maximising Happiness?," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(2), pages 145-167, May.
    7. Oswald, Andrew J. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2007. "Obesity, Unhappiness, and The Challenge of Affluence: Theory and Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 2717, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
    9. Judith Cornelisse-Vermaat & Gerrit Antonides & Johan Ophem & Henriette Brink, 2006. "Body Mass Index, Perceived Health, and Happiness: Their Determinants and Structural Relationships," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 79(1), pages 143-158, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rietveld, Cornelius A. & Hessels, Jolanda & van der Zwan, Peter, 2015. "The stature of the self-employed and its relation with earnings and satisfaction," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 59-74.
    2. Frieder Kropfhäußer & Marco Sunder, 2014. "A Weighty Issue Revisited: The Dynamic Effect of Body Weight on Earnings and Satisfaction in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 635, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    3. Owen, Ann L. & Handley-Miner, Isaac, 2015. "Race, Class, Gender, and the Happiness of College Students," MPRA Paper 67078, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Ehsan Latif, 2014. "Obesity and happiness: does gender matter?," Economics and Business Letters, Oviedo University Press, vol. 3(1), pages 59-67.
    5. Huffman, Sonya & Rizov, Marian, 2016. "Life Satisfaction and Diet: Evidence from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 235148, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    6. Kropfhäußer, Frieder & Sunder, Marco, 2013. "A weighty issue revisited: the dynamic effect of body weight on earnings and satisfaction in Germany," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79895, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    7. Alois Stutzer & Armando N. Meier, 2016. "Limited Self‐control, Obesity, and the Loss of Happiness," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(11), pages 1409-1424, November.
    8. Pagan, Ricardo & Haro, Carmen Ordóñez de & Sánchez, Carlos Rivas, 2016. "Obesity, job satisfaction and disability at older ages in Europe," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 42-54.
    9. Wang-Sheng Lee & Zhong Zhao, 2017. "Height, Weight and Well-Being for Rural, Urban and Migrant Workers in China," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 132(1), pages 117-136, May.
    10. repec:eee:socmed:v:208:y:2018:i:c:p:55-63 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Pugno, Maurizio, 2013. "Scitovsky and the income-happiness paradox," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 1-10.
    12. Marina-Selini Katsaiti & Amany A. El Anshasy, 2013. "What determines obesity in oil-rich UAE? New evidence from survey data," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(17), pages 1574-1579, November.
    13. Olivier Bargain & Jinan Zeidan, 2014. "The Direct Effect of Obesity on Emotional Well-Being: Evidence from Mexico," AMSE Working Papers 1432, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised 16 Jul 2014.
    14. Petri Böckerman & Edvard Johansson & Samuli Saarni & Suoma Saarni, 2014. "The Negative Association of Obesity with Subjective Well-Being: Is it All About Health?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 857-867, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Happiness; obesity; instrumental variable analysis; subjective well-being;

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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