The Economic Reality of the Beauty Myth
We investigate income, marital status, and hourly pay differentials by body mass (kg/m2) in a sample of 23 to 31 year olds drawn from the 1988 NLSY. Obese women have lower family incomes than women whose weight-for-height is in the 'recommended' range. Results for men are weaker and mixed. We find similar results when we compare same-sex siblings in order to control for family background (e.g., social class) differences. Differences in economic status by body mass for women increase markedly when we use an earlier weight measure or restrict the sample to persons who were single and childless when the early weight was reported. There is some evidence of labor market discrimination against obese women. However, differences in marriage probabilities and in spouse's earnings account for 50 to 95 percent of their lower economic status. There is no evidence that obese African American women suffer an economic penalty relative to other African American women.
|Date of creation:||Nov 1993|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Journal of Human Resources, Spring 1996|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
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- Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polachek, 1974.
"Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women,"
in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 76-110
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polacheck, 1974. "Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 397-431 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Mincer, Jacob & Polachek, Solomon, 1974. "Family Investment in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages S76-S108, Part II, .
- Richard H. Steckel, 1991.
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NBER Historical Working Papers
0024, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- repec:oup:restud:v:47:y:1980:i:1:p:225-38 is not listed on IDEAS
- Randall K. Filer, 1993. "The Usefulness of Predicted Values for Prior Work Experience in Analyzing Labor Market Outcomes for Women," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(3), pages 519-537.
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