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A Macroeconomic Analysis of Obesity in the U.S

  • Pere Gomis-Porqueras

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Miami)

  • Adrian Peralta-Alva

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Miami)

We perform a dynamic general equilibrium analysis of the observed increase in the average weight of American adults during the last 40 years. Data suggests that this increase in weight can be attributed to a dramatic rise in the consumption of foods prepared away from home, which resulted in higher caloric intake. We study the quantitative implications of two different hypotheses that may help explain the increased consumption of foods prepared away from home: technological advancements in the production of processed food that lowered its price, and higher opportunity cost of cooking at home driven by lower taxes and gender wage gap. According to our model, actual trends in the gender wage gap and income taxes alone can account for almost all of the observed changes in calorie consumption, expenditure in food away from home, ingredients for cooking at home, consumption of non-food items, investment, and GDP. When taxes and the gender wage gap are held constant, technological advancements in the production of foods prepared away from home can only account for half of the food expenditure patterns in the data, and deliver counterfactual implications for key macroeconomic variables.

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File URL: http://moya.bus.miami.edu/~pgomis/macroeconomicsofobesity.pdf
File Function: First version, 2005
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Miami, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0606.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 01 Feb 2005
Date of revision: 30 Aug 2007
Publication status: Forthcoming: Under Review
Handle: RePEc:mia:wpaper:0606
Contact details of provider: Postal: P.O. Box 248126, Coral Gables, FL 33124-6550
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Web page: http://www.bus.miami.edu/faculty-and-research/academic-departments/economics/index.html

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  1. Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna, 2005. "The Obesity Epidemic in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 1814, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. John Knowles, 2005. "Why are Married Men Working So Much?," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-031, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  3. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher & Phillip B. Levine, 2002. "Maternal Employment and Overweight Children," NBER Working Papers 8770, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Larry E. Jones & Rodolfo E. Manuelli & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2003. "Why are married women working so much?," Staff Report 317, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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