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Self-discrimination: A field experiment on obesity

Listed author(s):
  • Pablo Brañas-Garza

    ()

    (GLOBE and Universidad de Granada)

  • Antonios Proestakis

    ()

    (GLOBE and Universidad de Granada)

While it is well-established in the literature that obese people are discriminated against in the working environment, little is known about their own actual behavior. Our experimental setting investigates whether these potentially discriminated people respond in a different way when faced with the opportunity of earning a positive amount of money. Significant lower money requests by obese people confirm our self-discrimination hypothesis, offering an additional explanation for the wage gap; Thus, it seems that obese people earn less not only because of discrimination against them but also because they themselves are less demanding. Two different explanations are suggested obese people request less due to self-esteem vulnerability and/or due to some kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Results are not confirmed when applying the same approach to "beauty" and "gender", two features that are also often associated with wage discrimination.

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File URL: http://www.ugr.es/~teoriahe/RePEc/gra/wpaper/thepapers10_18.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada. in its series ThE Papers with number 10/18.

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Length: 64 pages
Date of creation: 01 Oct 2010
Handle: RePEc:gra:wpaper:10/16
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  1. Atella, Vincenzo & Pace, Noemi & Vuri, Daniela, 2008. "Are employers discriminating with respect to weight?: European Evidence using Quantile Regression," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 305-329, December.
  2. Markus M. Mobius & Tanya S. Rosenblat, 2006. "Why Beauty Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 222-235, March.
  3. James Heckman, 2011. "Policies to foster human capital," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 3, pages 73-137.
  4. Wada, Roy & Tekin, Erdal, 2010. "Body composition and wages," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 242-254, July.
  5. 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.
  6. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994. "Beauty and the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1174-1194, December.
  7. Nicola Persico & Andrew Postlewaite & Dan Silverman, 2004. "The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 1019-1053, October.
  8. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  9. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance in Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074.
  10. Andreoni, James & Petrie, Ragan, 2008. "Beauty, gender and stereotypes: Evidence from laboratory experiments," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 73-93, February.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Piketty, Thomas, 1998. "Self-fulfilling beliefs about social status," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 115-132, October.
  14. Eckel, Catherine C. & Wilson, Rick K., 2004. "Is trust a risky decision?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 447-465, December.
  15. 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.
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