IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper

Obesity and the Labor Market: A Fresh Look at the Weight Penalty

  • Marco Caliendo
  • Markus Gehrsitz

This paper applies semiparametric regression models to shed light on the relation-ship between body weight and labor market outcomes in Germany. We find conclusive evidence that these relationships are poorly described by linear or quadratic OLS specifications, which have been the main approaches in previous studies. Women's wages and employment probabilities do not follow a linear relationship and are highest at a body weight far below the clinical threshold of obesity. This indicates that looks, rather than health, is the driving force behind the adverse labor market outcomes to which overweight women are subject. Further support is lent to this notion by the fact that wage penalties for overweight and obese women are only observable in white-collar occupations. On the other hand, bigger appears to be better in the case of men, for whom employment prospects increase with weight, albeit with diminishing returns. However, underweight men in blue-collar jobs earn lower wages because they lack the muscular strength required in such occupations.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.438764.de/diw_sp0631.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 631.

as
in new window

Length: 33 p.
Date of creation: 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp631
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Mohrenstraße 58, D-10117 Berlin

Phone: xx49-30-89789-671
Fax: xx49-30-89789-109
Web page: http://www.diw.de/en/soep
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. Bhattacharya, Jay & Bundorf, M. Kate, 2009. "The incidence of the healthcare costs of obesity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 649-658, May.
  2. John Cawley & Sheldon Danziger, 2005. "Morbid obesity and the transition from welfare to work," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(4), pages 727-743.
  3. Davide Dragone & Luca Savorelli, 2010. "Thinness and Obesity: A Model of Food Consumption, Health Concerns, and Social Pressure," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 017, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  4. Greve, Jane, 2008. "Obesity and labor market outcomes in Denmark," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 350-362, December.
  5. Charles L. Baum II & Christopher J. Ruhm, 2007. "Age, Socioeconomic Status and Obesity Growth," NBER Working Papers 13289, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Cawley, John & Price, Joshua A., 2013. "A case study of a workplace wellness program that offers financial incentives for weight loss," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 794-803.
  9. 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.
  10. Roy Wada & Erdal Tekin, 2007. "Body Composition and Wages," NBER Working Papers 13595, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Cawley, John & Maclean, J. Catherine, 2011. "Unfit for Service: The Implications of Rising Obesity for U.S. Military Recruitment," IZA Discussion Papers 5822, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Edward C. Norton & Euna Han, 2008. "Genetic information, obesity, and labor market outcomes," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(9), pages 1089-1104.
  13. Cawley, John H. & Grabka, Markus M. & Lillard, Dean R., 2005. "A Comparison of the Relationship between Obesity and Earnings in the U.S. and Germany," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 119-129.
  14. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  15. John Cawley & Euna Han & Edward C. Norton, 2011. "The validity of genes related to neurotransmitters as instrumental variables," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(8), pages 884-888, 08.
  16. Morris, Stephen, 2006. "Body mass index and occupational attainment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 347-364, March.
  17. John Cawley & Chad Meyerhoefer, 2010. "The Medical Care Costs of Obesity: An Instrumental Variables Approach," NBER Working Papers 16467, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Strulik, Holger, 2014. "A mass phenomenon: The social evolution of obesity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 113-125.
  19. Vincent A. Hildebrand & Philippe Van Kerm, 2010. "Body size and wages in Europe: A semi-parametric analysis," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 269, McMaster University.
  20. Johansson, Edvard & Böckerman, Petri & Kiiskinen, Urpo & Heliövaara, Markku, 2009. "Obesity and labour market success in Finland: The difference between having a high BMI and being fat," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 36-45, March.
  21. Paraponaris, Alain & Saliba, Berengere & Ventelou, Bruno, 2005. "Obesity, weight status and employability: Empirical evidence from a French national survey," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 241-258, July.
  22. Nikolay Nenovsky & S. Statev, 2006. "Introduction," Post-Print halshs-00260898, HAL.
  23. Euna Han & Edward C. Norton & Sally C. Stearns, 2009. "Weight and wages: fat versus lean paychecks," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 535-548.
  24. Caliendo, Marco & Lee, Wang-Sheng, 2013. "Fat chance! Obesity and the transition from unemployment to employment," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 121-133.
  25. Lindeboom, Maarten & Lundborg, Petter & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2010. "Assessing the impact of obesity on labor market outcomes," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 309-319, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp631. 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: (Bibliothek)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.