IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedlwp/2008-017.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A macroeconomic analysis of obesity

Author

Listed:
  • Pedro Gomis-Porqueras
  • Adrian Peralta-Alva

Abstract

This paper tries to understand the underlying causes of the rapid increase in obesity rates over recent decades. In particular, we propose a dynamic general equilibrium model to derive the quantitative implications of a decline in the relative (monetary and time) cost of food prepared away from home on the caloric intake of the average American adult over the last forty years. Two channels that lower this relative cost are considered. First, productivity improvements in the production of food prepared away from home. We and that this channel is qualitatively consistent with expenditure trends in food items, but falls short of accounting for the magnitude of the observed changes. We then consider actual declines in income taxes and in the gender wage gap, which increase the cost of preparing food at home from scratch. Our model accounts for three quarters of the observed changes in calorie consumption, and is consistent with trends in aggregate food expenditures, time use, and key macroeconomic variables. Our results indicate that changes in the relative cost of food prepared away from home play an important role in our understanding of the increased weight of the American population during the last 40 years.

Suggested Citation

  • Pedro Gomis-Porqueras & Adrian Peralta-Alva, 2008. "A macroeconomic analysis of obesity," Working Papers 2008-017, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2008-017
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://research.stlouisfed.org/wp/2008/2008-017.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2006. "Measuring trends in leisure," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    2. Helen H. Jensen & Steven T. Yen, 1996. "Food Expenditures Away From Home by Type of Meal," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 44(1), pages 67-80, March.
    3. Larry E. JONES & Rodolfo E. MANUELLI & Ellen R. McGRATTAN, 2015. "Why Are Married Women Working so much ?," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 75-114, March.
    4. Claudia Olivetti & Stefania Albanesi, 2005. "Home Production, Market Production and the Gender Wage Gap: Incentives and Expectations," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2005-013, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    5. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Mehmet Yorukoglu, 2005. "Engines of Liberation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 109-133.
    6. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 93-118, Summer.
    7. Mary A. Burke & Frank Heiland, 2007. "Social Dynamics Of Obesity," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(3), pages 571-591, July.
    8. Fred J. Prochaska & R. A. Schrimper, 1973. "Opportunity Cost of Time and Other Socioeconomic Effects on Away-From-Home Food Consumption," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 55(4_Part_1), pages 595-603.
    9. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2005. "Taxes, Regulations, and the Value of U.S. and U.K. Corporations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 767-796.
    10. Seval Mutlu & Azucena Gracia, 2006. "Spanish food expenditure away from home (FAFH): by type of meal," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(9), pages 1037-1047.
    11. Patrick J. Byrne & Oral Capps & Atanu Saha, 1996. "Analysis of Food-Away-from-Home Expenditure Patterns for U.S. Households, 1982–89," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(3), pages 614-627.
    12. Francine D. Blau, 1998. "Trends in the Well-Being of American Women, 1970-1995," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 112-165, March.
    13. Anna Sanz De Galdeano, 2005. "The Obesity Epidemic in Europe," CSEF Working Papers 143, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    14. Hayashi, Fumio, 1982. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average q: A Neoclassical Interpretation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 213-224, January.
    15. Sara Bleich & David Cutler & Christopher Murray & Alyce Adams, 2007. "Why Is The Developed World Obese?," NBER Working Papers 12954, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Avner Offer, 1998. "Epidemics of Abundance: Overeating and Slimming in the USA and Britain since the 1950s," Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers _025, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    17. Anderson, Patricia M. & Butcher, Kristin F. & Levine, Phillip B., 2003. "Maternal employment and overweight children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 477-504, May.
    18. Lombard, Karen V, 1999. "Women's Rising Market Opportunities and Increased Labor Force Participation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(2), pages 195-212, April.
    19. Smith, Trenton G, 2002. "Obesity and Nature's Thumbprint: How Modern Waistlines Can Inform Economic Theory," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt31g1m028, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Pedro Gomis-Porqueras & Fidel Gonzalez, 2009. "The Role Of Uncertainty On U.S. Obesity: An Application Of Control Theory," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2009-506, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
    2. Buttet, Sebastien & Dolar, Veronika, 2015. "Toward a quantitative theory of food consumption choices and body weight," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 143-156.
    3. Pedro Gomis-Porqueras & Oscar Mitnik & Adrian Peralta-Alva & Maximilian D. Schmeiser, 2011. "The Effects of Female Labor Force Participation on Obesity," Working Papers 2011-16, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
    4. Kerry Anne McGeary, 2009. "The Impact of State-Level Nutrition-Education Program Funding on BMI: Evidence from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," NBER Working Papers 15001, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald & Bert Van Landeghem, 2009. "Imitative Obesity and Relative Utility," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 528-538, 04-05.
    2. Bai, Junfei & Wahl, Thomas I. & Lohmar, Bryan T. & Huang, Jikun, 2010. "Food away from home in Beijing: Effects of wealth, time and "free" meals," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 432-441, September.
    3. Liu, Haiyan & Wahl, Thomas I. & Seale, James L. & Bai, Junfei, 2015. "Household composition, income, and food-away-from-home expenditure in urban China," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 97-103.
    4. Barone, Adriana & O'Higgins, Niall, 2010. "Fat and out in Salerno and its province: Adolescent obesity and early school leaving in Southern Italy," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 44-57, March.
    5. Pere Gomis-Porqueras & Adrian Peralta-Alva, 2005. "A Macroeconomic Analysis of Obesity in the U.S," Working Papers 0606, University of Miami, Department of Economics, revised 30 Aug 2007.
    6. Knowles, John, 2007. "Why Are Married Men Working So Much? Home Production, Household Bargaining and Per-Capita Hours," IZA Discussion Papers 2909, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Stefania Albanesi & Claudia Olivetti, 2006. "Gender roles and technological progress," 2006 Meeting Papers 411, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Alessandra Fogli & Laura Veldkamp, 2007. "Nature or nurture? learning and female labor force dynamics," Staff Report 386, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    9. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2017. "Family Economics Writ Large," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(4), pages 1346-1434, December.
    10. Matthias Doepke & Moshe Hazan & Yishay D. Maoz, 2015. "The Baby Boom and World War II: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(3), pages 1031-1073.
    11. Fernández, Raquel & Wong, Joyce Cheng, 2011. "The Disappearing Gender Gap: The Impact of Divorce, Wages, and Preferences on Education Choices and Women's Work," IZA Discussion Papers 6046, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Suqin Ge & Fang Yang, 2013. "Accounting For The Gender Gap In College Attainment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 478-499, January.
    13. Oswald, Andrew J & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2007. "Obesity, Unhappiness, and The Challenge of Affluence : Theory and Evidence," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 793, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    14. Fabrice Etilé & Marie Plessz, 2018. "Women’s employment and the decline of home cooking: Evidence from France, 1985–2010," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 939-970, December.
    15. George Davis, 2014. "Food at home production and consumption: implications for nutrition quality and policy," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 565-588, September.
    16. Pedro Gomis-Porqueras & Oscar Mitnik & Adrian Peralta-Alva & Maximilian D. Schmeiser, 2011. "The Effects of Female Labor Force Participation on Obesity," Working Papers 2011-16, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
    17. Haaland, Venke Furre & Rege, Mari & Telle, Kjetil & Votruba, Mark, 2018. "The intergenerational transfer of the employment gender gap," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 132-146.
    18. Kolosnitsyna, Marina & Berdnikova, Arina, 2009. "Overweight: What Are its Costs and What Could Be Done?," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 15(3), pages 72-93.
    19. Peralta-Alva Adrian & Pere Gomis- Porqueras, 2005. "Obesity: An unitended consequence of taxes and the gender wage gap?," Macroeconomics 0503014, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 05 Apr 2006.
    20. Georgia S. Papoutsi & Andreas C. Drichoutis & Rodolfo M. Nayga Jr., 2013. "The Causes Of Childhood Obesity: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 743-767, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Obesity;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2008-017. 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: (). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/frbslus.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.