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

The Rise in Obesity Across the Atlantic: An Economic Perspective

  • Giorgio Brunello
  • Pierre-Carl Michaud
  • Anna Sanz de Galdeano

We provide comparable evidence on the patterns and trends in obesity across the Atlantic and analyse whether there are economic rationales for public intervention to control obesity. We take into account equity issues as well as efficiency considerations, which are organized around three categories of market failures: productive inefficiencies, lack of information or rationality and health insurance externalities. We also calculate the long term financial consequences of current US and European obesity trends, and conclude with a brief review of current policies to reduce and prevent excessive body weight both in Europe and the US.

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 2008-21.

in new window

Date of creation: Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fda:fdaddt:2008-21
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. Andreyeva, T. & Michaud, P.C. & van Soest, A.H.O., 2007. "Obesity and health in Europeans age 50 and above," Other publications TiSEM ac9092fe-6dfa-4b99-8db8-9, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  2. David N. Weil, 2005. "Accounting for the Effect of Health on Economic Growth," Working Papers 2005-07, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  3. Bloom, David E. & Canning, David & Sevilla, Jaypee, 2004. "The Effect of Health on Economic Growth: A Production Function Approach," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 1-13, January.
  4. Jay Bhattacharya & Neeraj Sood, 2005. "Health Insurance and the Obesity Externality," NBER Working Papers 11529, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Barbara Sianesi & John Van Reenen, 2003. "The Returns to Education: Macroeconomics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(2), pages 157-200, 04.
  6. James M. Malcomson, 1997. "Contracts, Hold-Up, and Labor Markets," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(4), pages 1916-1957, December.
  7. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2007. "Current and Future Prevalence of Obesity and Severe Obesity in the United States," NBER Working Papers 13181, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. John Strauss & Duncan Thomas, 1998. "Health, Nutrition, and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 766-817, June.
  9. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Darius Lakdawalla & Dana Goldman & Jay Bhattacharya, 2001. "Are the Young Becoming More Disabled?," NBER Working Papers 8247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. 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.
  12. Benitez-Silva, Hugo & Buchinsky, Moshe & Chan, Hiu Man & Rust, John & Sheidvasser, Sofia, 1999. "An empirical analysis of the social security disability application, appeal, and award process," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 147-178, June.
  13. Rodrigo R. Soares, 2003. "Mortality Reductions, Educational Attainment, and Fertility Choice," Development and Comp Systems 0312006, EconWPA.
  14. John Cawley, 2000. "Body Weight and Women's Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 7841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser, 2006. "Why Do Europeans Smoke More than Americans?," NBER Working Papers 12124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2006. "Disease and Development: The Effect of Life Expectancy on Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 12269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Frank R. Lichtenberg, 2002. "Sources of U.S. Longevity Increase, 1960-1997," NBER Working Papers 8755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. 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.
  20. Tomas J. Philipson & Richard A. Posner, 1999. "The Long-Run Growth in Obesity as a Function of Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 7423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Henry Saffer & Melanie Wakefield & Yvonne Terry-McElrath, 2007. "The Effect of Nicotine Replacement Therapy Advertising on Youth Smoking," NBER Working Papers 12964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Weili Ding & Steven F. Lehrer & J. Niels Rosenquist & Janet Audrain-McGovern, 2006. "The Impact of Poor Health on Education: New Evidence Using Genetic Markers," NBER Working Papers 12304, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile, 2003. "Socioeconomic Status and Child Health: Why Is the Relationship Stronger for Older Children?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1813-1823, December.
  24. Currie, Alison & Shields, Michael A. & Price, Stephen Wheatley, 2007. "The child health/family income gradient: Evidence from England," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 213-232, March.
  25. Janet Currie & Brigitte C. Madrian, 1998. "Health, Health Insurance and the Labor Market," JCPR Working Papers 27, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  26. Bound, John & Schoenbaum, Michael & Stinebrickner, Todd R. & Waidmann, Timothy, 1999. "The dynamic effects of health on the labor force transitions of older workers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 179-202, June.
  27. Eric French, 2005. "The Effects of Health, Wealth, and Wages on Labour Supply and Retirement Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(2), pages 395-427.
  28. Johansson, Edvard & Böckerman, Petri & Kiiskinen, Urpo & Heliövaara, Markku, 2007. "The Effect of Obesity on Wages and Employment: The Difference Between Having a High BMI and Being Fat," Working Papers 528, Hanken School of Economics.
  29. Frank, Robert H, 1984. "Are Workers Paid Their Marginal Products?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 549-71, September.
  30. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2001. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," NBER Working Papers 8344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Giorgio Brunello & Beatrice d'Hombres, 2006. "Does Body Weight affect Wages? Evidence from Europe," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0027, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
  32. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  33. 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.
  34. Anna Sanz de Galdeano, 2007. "An Economic Analysis of Obesity in Europe: Health, Medical Care and Absenteeism Costs," Working Papers 2007-38, FEDEA.
  35. 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.
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:2008-21. 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.