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Body Weight and Labour Market Outcomes in Post-Soviet Russia

  • Huffman, Sonya K.
  • Rizov, Marian

This paper estimates the impacts of weight, measured by body mass index (BMI), on employment, wages, and missed work due to illness for Russian adults by gender, in order to better understand the mechanisms through which obesity affects employment, wages, and sick-leave days using recent panel data (1994-2005) from the nationally representative Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS). We employ econometric techniques to control for unobserved heterogeneity and potential biases due to endogeneity in BMI. The results show an inverted U-shaped effect of BMI on probability of employment for men and women. We did not find evidence of wage penalty for higher BMI. In fact, the wages for overweighed men are higher. However, having a BMI above 28.3 increases the number of days missing work days due to health problems for men. Overall, we find negative effects of obesity (BMI above 30) on employment only for women but not on wages. During the transition in Russia, the increasingly competitive pressure in the labour market combined with economic insecurity faced by the population has lead to a muted impact of an individual’s weight on labour market outcomes.

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File URL: http://www.econ.iastate.edu/sites/default/files/publications/papers/p13665-2011-05-05.pdf
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Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 33665.

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Date of creation: 05 May 2011
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Publication status: Published in International Journal of Manpower 2014, vol. 35 no. 5, pp. 671-687
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:33665
Contact details of provider: Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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  1. Cawley, John & Han, Euna & Norton, Edward C., 2009. "Obesity and labor market outcomes among legal immigrants to the United States from developing countries," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 153-164, July.
  2. Morris, Stephen, 2007. "The impact of obesity on employment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 413-433, June.
  3. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  4. Susan Averett & Sanders Korenman, 1993. "The Economic Reality of the Beauty Myth," NBER Working Papers 4521, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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