IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Decomposing Body Mass Index Gaps Between Mediterranean Countries: A Counterfactual Quantile Regression Analysis

  • Joan Costa-Font
  • Daniele Fabbri
  • Joan Gil

Wide cross-country variation in obesity rates have been reported within European Union member states. However, health production determinants for these differences have been largely overlooked in the health economics literature. In this paper we propose a methodology for conducting standardized cross-country comparisons in BMI. The method we adopt is based on the estimation of the marginal density function of BMI in a given country implied by different counterfactual distributions of all the covariates included within a quantile regression framework. We apply our method to the analysis of the variation in BMI distribution in Spain with respect to Italy in the year 2003. Our findings suggest that Spain-to-Italy BMI gaps are largely explained by cross-country variation in the returns to each health input. Therefore, there appear to be differences in the country-specific behavioural responses to the caloric (im)balance.

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:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by FEDEA in its series Working Papers with number 2008-11.

in new window

Date of creation: Feb 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fda:fdaddt:2008-11
Contact details of provider: Web page:

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. Kan, Kamhon & Tsai, Wei-Der, 2004. "Obesity and risk knowledge," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 907-934, September.
  2. Komlos, John & Breitfelder, Ariane & Sunder, Marco, 2008. "The transition to Post-industrial BMI values among US children," Discussion Papers in Economics 4304, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. Gruber, Jonathan & Frakes, Michael, 2006. "Does falling smoking lead to rising obesity?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 183-197, March.
  4. repec:fda:fdaddt:2004-19 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
  6. James Albrecht & Anders Bjorklund & Susan Vroman, 2003. "Is There a Glass Ceiling in Sweden?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 145-177, January.
  7. Ruhm Christopher J, 2007. "Current and Future Prevalence of Obesity and Severe Obesity in the United States," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 1-28, September.
  8. Giorgio Brunello & Pierre-Carl Michaud & Anna Sanz de Galdeano, 2008. "The Rise in Obesity Across the Atlantic: An Economic Perspective," Working Papers 2008-21, FEDEA.
  9. Morris, Stephen, 2006. "Body mass index and occupational attainment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 347-364, March.
  10. David M. Cutler & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2006. "Education and Health: Evaluating Theories and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 12352, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna, 2005. "The Obesity Epidemic in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 1814, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Arendt, Jacob Nielsen, 2005. "Does education cause better health? A panel data analysis using school reforms for identification," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 149-160, April.
  13. David Cutler & Edward Glaeser & Jesse Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," NBER Working Papers 9446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. José Mata & José A. F. Machado, 2005. "Counterfactual decomposition of changes in wage distributions using quantile regression," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 445-465.
  15. Jaume Garcia & Pedro J. Hernández & Ángel López Nicolás, 1998. "How wide is the gap? An investigation of gender wage differences using quantile regression," Economics Working Papers 287, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  16. Michaud Pierre-Carl & van Soest Arthur H.O. & Andreyeva Tatiana, 2007. "Cross-Country Variation in Obesity Patterns among Older Americans and Europeans," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 1-32, December.
  17. Gil, Joan & Mora, Toni, 2011. "The determinants of misreporting weight and height: The role of social norms," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 78-91, January.
  18. repec:ese:iserwp:2005-25 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Moshe Buchinsky, 1998. "Recent Advances in Quantile Regression Models: A Practical Guideline for Empirical Research," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 88-126.
  20. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
  21. Costa-Font, Joan & Gil, Joan, 2008. "What lies behind socio-economic inequalities in obesity in Spain A decomposition approach," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 61-73, February.
  22. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  23. Paul Contoyannis & John Wildman, 2007. "Using relative distributions to investigate the body mass index in England and Canada," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(9), pages 929-944.
  24. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521608275 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Wiji Arulampalam & Alison L. Booth & Mark L. Bryan, 2007. "Is There a Glass Ceiling over Europe? Exploring the Gender Pay Gap across the Wage Distribution," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(2), pages 163-186, January.
  26. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521845731 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. Baum II, Charles L. & Ruhm, Christopher J., 2009. "Age, socioeconomic status and obesity growth," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 635-648, May.
  28. Roger Koenker & Kevin F. Hallock, 2001. "Quantile Regression," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 143-156, Fall.
  29. Chou, Shin-Yi & Grossman, Michael & Saffer, Henry, 2004. "An economic analysis of adult obesity: results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 565-587, May.
  30. Morris, Stephen, 2007. "The impact of obesity on employment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 413-433, June.
  31. Costa-Font, Joan & Gil, Joan, 2005. "Obesity and the incidence of chronic diseases in Spain: A seemingly unrelated probit approach," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 188-214, July.
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:fda:fdaddt:2008-11. 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: (Carmen Arias)

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.