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Globesity: Is Globalization a Pathway to Obesity?

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Abstract

Obesity has risen dramatically at the same time as globalization has surged, which poses the question of whether the two are related. In this paper we document the association between type of globalization (economic, political or social) and obesity using data from 15 up to 23 different countries for up to 15 years, as well as three primary outcomes: obesity, caloric intake and grams of fat consume and a rich set of controls for micro-mechanisms. Our results are suggestive of a robust association between globalization and both obesity and calorie intake. However, once we control for micro-mechanisms suggested in the literature (e.g. food prices, female labor market participation and income), the impact of economic globalization fades away whilst ‘social globalization’ remains as a having robust and strong effect on the three measures of obesity. A one standard deviation increase in the KOF index of social globalization implies a rise of 3 percentage points in the proportion of obese population. It leads to a rise of 217 kcal and of 23.1 grams of fat consumed, respectively.

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  • Costa-Font, Joan & Mas, Nuria & Navarro, Patricia, 2013. "Globesity: Is Globalization a Pathway to Obesity?," IESE Research Papers D/1057, IESE Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebg:iesewp:d-1057
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    1. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1998:88:2:277-280_5 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Joan Costa-Font & Joan Gil, 2004. "Social interactions and the contemporaneous determinants of individuals' weight," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(20), pages 2253-2263.
    3. Victor R. Fuchs, 1982. "Introduction to "Economic Aspects of Health"," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Aspects of Health, pages 1-12, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Cawley, John & Liu, Feng, 2012. "Maternal employment and childhood obesity: A search for mechanisms in time use data," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 352-364.
    5. Potrafke, Niklas, 2010. "The growth of public health expenditures in OECD countries: Do government ideology and electoral motives matter?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 797-810, December.
    6. Victor R. Fuchs, 1982. "Economic Aspects of Health," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number fuch82-1, December.
    7. Bergh, Andreas & Nilsson, Therese, 2010. "Good for Living? On the Relationship between Globalization and Life Expectancy," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 1191-1203, September.
    8. Shin-Yi Chou & Inas Rashad & Michael Grossman, 2008. "Fast-Food Restaurant Advertising on Television and Its Influence on Childhood Obesity," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(4), pages 599-618, November.
    9. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650.
    10. Axel Dreher & Noel Gaston, 2008. "Has Globalization Increased Inequality?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(3), pages 516-536, August.
    11. Fuchs, Victor R. (ed.), 1982. "Economic Aspects of Health," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226267852.
    12. Cawley, John & Meyerhoefer, Chad, 2012. "The medical care costs of obesity: An instrumental variables approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 219-230.
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    1. repec:taf:ginixx:v:44:y:2018:i:1:p:88-106 is not listed on IDEAS

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