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Gender, Body Mass and Economic Status

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  • Dalton Conley
  • Rebecca Glauber

Abstract

Previous research on the effect of body mass on economic outcomes has used a variety of methods to mitigate endogeneity bias. We extend this research by using an older sample of U.S. individuals from the PSID. This sample allows us to examine age-gender interactive effects. Through sibling-random and fixed effects models, we find that a one percent increase in a woman's body mass results in a .6 percentage point decrease in her family income and a .4 percentage point decrease in her occupational prestige measured 13 to 15 years later. Body mass is also associated with a reduction in a woman's likelihood of marriage, her spouse's occupational prestige, and her spouse's earnings. However, consistent with past research, men experience no negative effects of body mass on economic outcomes. Age splits show that it is among younger adults where BMI effects are most robust, lending support to the interpretation that it is BMI causing occupational outcomes and not the reverse.

Suggested Citation

  • Dalton Conley & Rebecca Glauber, 2005. "Gender, Body Mass and Economic Status," NBER Working Papers 11343, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11343
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    Cited by:

    1. Hübler, Olaf, 2006. "The Nonlinear Link between Height and Wages: An Empirical Investigation," IZA Discussion Papers 2394, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Webbink, Dinand & Martin, Nicholas G. & Visscher, Peter M., 2010. "Does education reduce the probability of being overweight?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 29-38, January.
    3. Edward C. Norton & Euna Han, 2008. "Genetic information, obesity, and labor market outcomes," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(9), pages 1089-1104, September.
    4. Ali, Mir M. & Amialchuk, Aliaksandr & Rizzo, John A., 2012. "The influence of body weight on social network ties among adolescents," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 20-34.
    5. Brunello, Giorgio & D'Hombres, Beatrice, 2007. "Does body weight affect wages?: Evidence from Europe," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 1-19, March.
    6. 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, May.
    7. Barone, Adriana & O'Higgins, Niall, 2010. "Fat and out in Salerno and its province: Adolescent obesity and early school leaving in Southern Italy," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 44-57, March.
    8. Alan C. Monheit & Jessica P. Vistnes & Jeannette A. Rogowski, 2007. "Overweight in Adolescents: Implications for Health Expenditures," NBER Working Papers 13488, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. 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.
    10. Jaume Garcia Villar & Climent Quintana, 2005. "Body size, activity, employment and wages in Europe: A first approach," Economics Working Papers 897, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 2006.
    11. Jaume Garcia & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2005. "Obesity, Wages and Employment in Europe," Labor and Demography 0508002, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 03 Apr 2006.
    12. Richard Burkhauser & John Cawley, 2006. "The Importance of Objective Health Measures in Predicting Early Receipt of Social Security Benefits: The Case of Fatness," Working Papers wp148, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    13. Smith, Patricia K. & Zagorsky, Jay L., 2018. "“Do I look fat?” Self-perceived body weight and labor market outcomes," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 48-58.
    14. Cavaco, Sandra & Eriksson, Tor & Skalli, Ali, 2014. "Life cycle development of obesity and its determinants in six European countries," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 14(C), pages 62-78.
    15. Kim, Tae Hyun & Han, Euna, 2015. "Impact of body mass on job quality," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 75-85.
    16. Larose, Samantha L. & Kpelitse, Koffi A. & Campbell, M. Karen & Zaric, Gregory S. & Sarma, Sisira, 2016. "Does obesity influence labour market outcomes among working-age adults? Evidence from Canadian longitudinal data," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 26-41.
    17. Wada, Roy & Tekin, Erdal, 2010. "Body composition and wages," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 242-254, July.
    18. Rashad, Inas, 2008. "Height, health, and income in the US, 1984-2005," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 108-126, March.
    19. Meliyanni Johar & Hajime Katayama, 2012. "Quantile regression analysis of body mass and wages," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(5), pages 597-611, May.
    20. Ali, Mir M. & Rizzo, John A. & Amialchuk, Aliaksandr & Heiland, Frank, 2014. "Racial differences in the influence of female adolescents’ body size on dating and sex," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 140-152.

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    JEL classification:

    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General

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