IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/14010.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Is the Obesity Epidemic a Public Health Problem? A Decade of Research on the Economics of Obesity

Author

Listed:
  • Tomas Philipson
  • Richard Posner

Abstract

The world-wide and ongoing rise in obesity has generated enormous popular interest and policy concern in developing countries, where it is rapidly becoming the major public health problem facing such nations. As a consequence, there has been a rapidly growing field of economic analysis of the causes and consequences of this phenomenon. This paper discusses some of the central themes of this decade long research program, aiming at synthesizing the different strands of the literature, and to point to future research that seems particularly productive.

Suggested Citation

  • Tomas Philipson & Richard Posner, 2008. "Is the Obesity Epidemic a Public Health Problem? A Decade of Research on the Economics of Obesity," NBER Working Papers 14010, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14010
    Note: EH
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14010.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Variyam, Jayachandran N. & Blaylock, James, 1998. "Unlocking the Mystery Between Nutrition Knowledge and Diet Quality," Food Review/ National Food Review, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, vol. 21(2), pages 1-8.
    2. Zoltán J. Ács & Alan Lyles (ed.), 2007. "Obesity, Business and Public Policy," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 3922.
    3. Susan Averett & Sanders Korenman, 1996. "The Economic Reality of the Beauty Myth," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 304-330.
    4. Jay Bhattacharya & Neeraj Sood, 2006. "Health Insurance and the Obesity Externality," Advances in Health Economics and Health Services Research, in: The Economics of Obesity, pages 279-318, Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
    5. Cawley, John & Markowitz, Sara & Tauras, John, 2004. "Lighting up and slimming down: the effects of body weight and cigarette prices on adolescent smoking initiation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 293-311, March.
    6. Morris, Stephen, 2006. "Body mass index and occupational attainment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 347-364, March.
    7. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 93-118, Summer.
    8. Jay Bhattacharya & M. Kate Bundorf, 2005. "The Incidence of the Healthcare Costs of Obesity," NBER Working Papers 11303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Chou, Shin-Yi & Grossman, Michael & Saffer, Henry, 2004. "An economic analysis of adult obesity: results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 565-587, May.
    10. Kuchler, Fred & Golan, Elise H. & Variyam, Jayachandran N. & Crutchfield, Stephen R., 2005. "Obesity Policy and the Law of Unintended Consequences," Amber Waves:The Economics of Food, Farming, Natural Resources, and Rural America, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, pages 1-8, June.
    11. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994. "Beauty and the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1174-1194, December.
    12. Shin-Yi Chou & Inas Rashad & Michael Grossman, 2008. "Fast-Food Restaurant Advertising on Television and Its Influence on Childhood Obesity," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(4), pages 599-618, November.
    13. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
    14. Keeler, E.B. & Manning, W.G. & Newhouse, J.P. & Sloss, E.M. & Wasserman, J., 1989. "The external costs of a sedentary life-style," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 79(8), pages 975-981.
    15. Tomas J. Philipson & Richard A. Posner, 1999. "The Long-Run Growth in Obesity as a Function of Technological Change," Working Papers 9912, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    16. Kuchler, Fred & Ballenger, Nicole, 2002. "Societal Costs of Obesity: How Can We Assess When Federal Interventions Will Pay?," Food Review/ National Food Review, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, vol. 25(3), pages 1-5.
    17. Charles L. Baum & William F. Ford, 2004. "The wage effects of obesity: a longitudinal study," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(9), pages 885-899, September.
    18. Maria L. Loureiro & Azucena Gracia & Rodolfo M. Nayga, 2006. "Do consumers value nutritional labels?," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 33(2), pages 249-268, June.
    19. Levy, Amnon, 2002. "Rational eating: can it lead to overweightness or underweightness?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 887-899, September.
    20. Kuchler, Fred & Golan, Elise H. & Variyam, Jayachandran N. & Crutchfield, Stephen R., 2005. "Obesity Policy and the Law of Unintended Consequences," Brazilian Journal of Rural Economy and Sociology (RESR), Sociedade Brasileira de Economia e Sociologia Rural, June.
    21. Schelling, Thomas C, 1978. "Egonomics, or the Art of Self-Management," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 290-294, May.
    22. Aldrich, Lorna, 1999. "Consumer Use of Information: Implications for Food Policy," Miscellaneous Publications 330083, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    23. Kan, Kamhon & Tsai, Wei-Der, 2004. "Obesity and risk knowledge," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 907-934, September.
    24. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
    25. Biddle, Jeff E & Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1998. "Beauty, Productivity, and Discrimination: Lawyers' Looks and Lucre," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 172-201, January.
    26. Variyam, Jayachandran N., 2005. "The Price Is Right," Amber Waves:The Economics of Food, Farming, Natural Resources, and Rural America, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, pages 1-8, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Peter J. Huckfeldt & Darius N. Lakdawalla & Tomas J. Philipson, 2012. "Economics of Obesity," Chapters, in: Andrew M. Jones (ed.), The Elgar Companion to Health Economics, Second Edition, chapter 7, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Dragone, Davide & Savorelli, Luca, 2012. "Thinness and obesity: A model of food consumption, health concerns, and social pressure," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 243-256.
    3. Odelia Rosin, 2008. "The Economic Causes Of Obesity: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(4), pages 617-647, September.
    4. Charles L. Baum, 2009. "The effects of cigarette costs on BMI and obesity," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 3-19, January.
    5. Mary A. Burke & Frank Heiland, 2007. "Social Dynamics Of Obesity," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(3), pages 571-591, July.
    6. Atella, Vincenzo & Pace, Noemi & Vuri, Daniela, 2008. "Are employers discriminating with respect to weight?: European Evidence using Quantile Regression," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 305-329, December.
    7. Giorgio Brunello & Pierre-Carl Michaud & Anna Sanz-de-Galdeano, 2008. "The Rise in Obesity Across the Atlantic An Economic Perspective," Working Papers WR-586, RAND Corporation.
    8. Brunello, Giorgio & Michaud, Pierre-Carl & Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna, 2008. "The Rise in Obesity across the Atlantic: An Economic Perspective," IZA Discussion Papers 3529, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Tomas J. Philipson & Richard A. Posner, 2008. "Is the Obesity Epidemic a Public Health Problem? A Review of Zoltan J. Acs and Alan Lyles's Obesity, Business and Public Policy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 974-982, December.
    10. Vasilios Kosteas, 2012. "The Effect of Exercise on Earnings: Evidence from the NLSY," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 225-250, June.
    11. Kolosnitsyna, Marina & Berdnikova, Arina, 2009. "Overweight: What Are its Costs and What Could Be Done?," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 15(3), pages 72-93.
    12. Pieroni, Luca & Salmasi, Luca, 2010. "Body weight and socio-economic determinants: quantile estimations from the British Household Panel Survey," ISER Working Paper Series 2010-41, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    13. 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.
    14. repec:zbw:rwirep:0381 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2012. "Understanding overeating and obesity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 781-796.
    16. 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.
    17. Cawley, John, 2015. "An economy of scales: A selective review of obesity's economic causes, consequences, and solutions," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 244-268.
    18. Christian A. Gregory & Christopher J. Ruhm, 2011. "Where Does the Wage Penalty Bite?," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Aspects of Obesity, pages 315-347, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Arndt R. Reichert, 2015. "Obesity, Weight Loss, and Employment Prospects: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(3), pages 759-810.
    20. Asfaw, Abay, 2007. "Do Government Food Price Policies Affect the Prevalence of Obesity? Empirical Evidence from Egypt," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 687-701, April.
    21. Levy, Amnon, 2007. "A theoretical analysis of rational diet of healthy and junk foods," Economics Working Papers wp07-01, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14010. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: the person in charge (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.