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

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  • 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: HE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gimenez-Nadal, J. Ignacio & Molina, Jose Alberto, 2015. "Health status and the allocation of time: Cross-country evidence from Europe," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 188-203.
    2. Tafreschi, Darjusch, 2015. "The income body weight gradients in the developing economy of China," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 16(C), pages 115-134.
    3. Ponthiere, Gregory, 2011. "Existence and stability of overconsumption equilibria," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 74-90.
    4. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2009. "Grazing, Goods and Girth: Determinants and Effects," NBER Working Papers 15277, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Michelle S. Goeree & John C. Ham & Daniela Iorio, 2011. "Race, Social Class, and Bulimia Nervosa," Working Papers 2011-034, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    6. Emma Frew, 2016. "Economic Evaluation of Childhood Obesity Interventions: Reflections and Suggestions," PharmacoEconomics, Springer, vol. 34(8), pages 733-740, August.
    7. Christian, Thomas & Rashad, Inas, 2009. "Trends in U.S. food prices, 1950-2007," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 113-120, March.
    8. Dardanoni, Valentino & Modica, Salvatore & Peracchi, Franco, 2011. "Regression with imputed covariates: A generalized missing-indicator approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 162(2), pages 362-368, June.
    9. Strulik, Holger, 2014. "A mass phenomenon: The social evolution of obesity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 113-125.
    10. Fernando Antonanzas & Roberto Rodríguez, 2010. "Feeding the economics of obesity in the EU in a healthy way," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 11(4), pages 351-353, August.
    11. Barbieri, Paolo Nicola, 2015. "Social Distortion in Weight Perception: A Decomposition of the Obesity Epidemic," Working Papers in Economics 639, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    12. Wanchuan Lin & Kathryn McEvilly & Juan Pantano, 2016. "Obesity and sex ratios in the U.S," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 269-292, June.
    13. John Mullahy & Stephanie A. Robert, 2008. "No Time to Lose? Time Constraints and Physical Activity," NBER Working Papers 14513, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Aneel Karnani & Brent McFerran & Anirban Mukhopadhyay, 2016. "The Obesity Crisis as Market Failure: An Analysis of Systemic Causes and Corrective Mechanisms," Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(3), pages 445-470.
    15. Sarma, Sisira & Zaric, Gregory S. & Campbell, M. Karen & Gilliland, Jason, 2014. "The effect of physical activity on adult obesity: Evidence from the Canadian NPHS panel," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 14(C), pages 1-21.
    16. Georgia S. Papoutsi & Andreas C. Drichoutis & Rodolfo M. Nayga Jr., 2013. "The Causes Of Childhood Obesity: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 743-767, September.
    17. John Komlos & Ariane Breitfelder & Marco Sunder, 2008. "The Transition to Post-industrial BMI Values Among US Children," NBER Working Papers 13898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. John Komlos & Marek Brabec, 2010. "The Trend of BMI Values among US Adults," CESifo Working Paper Series 2987, CESifo Group Munich.
    19. Peracchi, Franco & Arcaleni, Emilia, 2011. "Early-life environment, height and BMI of young men in Italy," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 251-264, July.
    20. Xavier Pautrel, 2009. "Health-enhancing activities and the environment:How competition for resources make the environmental policy beneficial," Working Papers hal-00423323, HAL.
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    22. Komlos, John & Brabec, Marek, 2011. "The trend of BMI values of US adults by deciles, birth cohorts 1882-1986 stratified by gender and ethnicity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 234-250, July.
    23. John Mullahy & Stephanie Robert, 2010. "No time to lose: time constraints and physical activity in the production of health," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 409-432, December.
    24. Yaniv, Gideon & Rosin, Odelia & Tobol, Yossef, 2009. "Junk-food, home cooking, physical activity and obesity: The effect of the fat tax and the thin subsidy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 823-830, June.
    25. Kolosnitsyna, Marina & Berdnikova, Arina, 2009. "Overweight: What Are its Costs and What Could Be Done?," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 15(3), pages 72-93.

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    JEL classification:

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

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