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Does More Money Make You Fat? The Effects of Quasi-Experimental Income Transfers on Adolescent and Young Adult Obesity

Author

Listed:
  • Akee, Randall K. Q.

    (University of California, Los Angeles)

  • Simeonova, Emilia

    (Johns Hopkins University)

  • Copeland, William

    (Duke University)

  • Angold, Adrian

    (Duke University)

  • Costello, Jane E.

    (Duke University)

Abstract

This paper examines how exogenous income transfers during adolescence affect contemporaneous body mass index (BMI) measures and young adult obesity rates using evidence from the Great Smoky Mountains Study of Youth. The effects of extra income differ depending on the households’ initial socio-economic status, tracing out an inverted U-shaped relationship between initial income and BMI. Youths who resided in families that had high pre-treatment annual incomes experience no change in young adult obesity rates as a result of the income transfers, while the BMI of poorer children increases. Part of this effect is due to differential increases in height, as well as weight. An exogenous annual transfer of $4,000 per adult family member results in an almost 4 cm gain in height-for-age. Adolescents coming from worse-off households experience an increase in weight only, without the corresponding change in height. The cumulative effects of the increase in household income persist for several years into young adulthood.

Suggested Citation

  • Akee, Randall K. Q. & Simeonova, Emilia & Copeland, William & Angold, Adrian & Costello, Jane E., 2010. "Does More Money Make You Fat? The Effects of Quasi-Experimental Income Transfers on Adolescent and Young Adult Obesity," IZA Discussion Papers 5135, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5135
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    1. Does More Money Make You Fat?
      by Ariel Goldring in Free Market Mojo on 2010-09-05 16:09:34

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    3. Eva Deuchert & Christina Felfe, 2013. "The Tempest: Natural Disasters, Early Shocks and Children's Short- and Long-Run Development," CESifo Working Paper Series 4168, CESifo.
    4. Resul Cesur & Bahadir Dursun & Naci Mocan, 2014. "The Impact of Education on Health and Health Behavior in a Middle-Income, Low-Education Country," NBER Working Papers 20764, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Ramraj, Chantel & Shahidi, Faraz Vahid & Darity, William & Kawachi, Ichiro & Zuberi, Daniyal & Siddiqi, Arjumand, 2016. "Equally inequitable? A cross-national comparative study of racial health inequalities in the United States and Canada," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 161(C), pages 19-26.
    6. Chavas, Jean-Paul, 2013. "On the microeconomics of food and malnutrition under endogenous discounting," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 80-96.
    7. Felfe, Christina & Deuchert. Eva, 2011. "The tempest: Using a natural disaster to evaluate the link between wealth and child development," Economics Working Paper Series 1146, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    adolescents; cash transfer; health; obesity; indigenous peoples;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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