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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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    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.347294.de/diw_sp0270.pdf
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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. 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.
    5. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2000. "Maximising Happiness?," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(2), pages 145-167, May.
    6. Oswald, Andrew J. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2007. "Obesity, Unhappiness, and The Challenge of Affluence: Theory and Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 2717, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. 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.
    8. 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. 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.

    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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