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Productivity or discrimination? An economic analysis of excess-weight penalty in the Swedish labor market

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Using longitudinal data, this paper investigates the penalty for excess weight in the Swedish labor market, distinguishing between the productivity and the discrimination hypotheses. We analyze employment, income, and sickness absence , using the latter as a direct measure of productivity. We find that excess weight women, but not men, experience a significant employment penalty. Both genders experience a significant income penalty for obesity. We conclude that the penalties are associated with lower productivity, primarily in terms of health. We find no evidence of discrimination.

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  • Dackehag, Margareta & Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Nordin, Martin, 2011. "Productivity or discrimination? An economic analysis of excess-weight penalty in the Swedish labor market," Working Papers 2011:12, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2011_012
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    2. Jonas Minet Kinge, 2017. "Waist circumference, body mass index, and employment outcomes," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 18(6), pages 787-799, July.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Employment; income; sickness absence; obesity; overweight;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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