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Non-linear relationship between body mass index and labor market outcomes: new evidence from China


  • Luo, Mi
  • Zhang, Chuanchuan


Using data from a most recent national household survey in China, we provide new evidence for the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and labor market attainments. In contrast to previous studies, we find a non-linear relationship between BMI and employment / wages, especially for women. There is no substantial heterogeneity across occupation in the effect of BMI on women’s wages.

Suggested Citation

  • Luo, Mi & Zhang, Chuanchuan, 2011. "Non-linear relationship between body mass index and labor market outcomes: new evidence from China," MPRA Paper 38936, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Feb 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:38936

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Markus M. Mobius & Tanya S. Rosenblat, 2006. "Why Beauty Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 222-235, March.
    3. Harper, Barry, 2000. " Beauty, Stature and the Labour Market: A British Cohort Study," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 62(0), pages 771-800, Special I.
    4. Morris, Stephen, 2006. "Body mass index and occupational attainment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 347-364, March.
    5. 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.
    6. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
    7. Naci Mocan & Erdal Tekin, 2011. "Obesity, Self-Esteem and Wages," NBER Chapters,in: Economic Aspects of Obesity, pages 349-380 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item


    Body mass index; Unemployment; Wage; Non-linear correlation;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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