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On the relationship between BMI and marital dissolution

Listed author(s):
  • Bellido, Héctor
  • Marcén, Miriam

The evolution of marital dissolutions has prompted researchers and policymakers to study their causes and consequences. While the effects of changes in the relationship status on the Body Mass Index (BMI) have been thoroughly documented (Selection, Protection, Social Obligation, and Marriage Market hypotheses), much less work has been done to analyze the impact of changes in the BMI on the probability of marital dissolution. We take advantage of the richness of the data on (pre) marital and biological history from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 79 (NLSY79) to estimate the effect of BMI on marital stability, following an Instrumental Variable approach. We find a small, but statistically-significant, negative effect of this indicator of health on the likelihood of marital dissolution. Supplemental analysis reveals that this effect depends on the category to which people belong according to their BMI (underweight, normal weight, and overweight-obese), and on their race.

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File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/73868/1/MPRA_paper_73868.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 73868.

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Date of creation: 20 Sep 2016
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:73868
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  10. Oreffice, Sonia & Quintana-Domeque, Climent, 2010. "Anthropometry and socioeconomics among couples: Evidence in the United States," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 373-384, December.
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  12. Sobal, Jeffery & Rauschenbach, Barbara & Frongillo, Edward A., 2003. "Marital status changes and body weight changes: a US longitudinal analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(7), pages 1543-1555, April.
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  14. Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Did Unilateral Divorce Laws Raise Divorce Rates? A Reconciliation and New Results," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1802-1820, December.
  15. Michael Malcolm & Ilker Kaya, 2016. "Selection works both ways: BMI and marital formation among young women," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 293-311, June.
  16. Averett, Susan L. & Sikora, Asia & Argys, Laura M., 2008. "For better or worse: Relationship status and body mass index," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 330-349, December.
  17. Delia Furtado & Miriam Marcén & Almudena Sevilla, 2013. "Does Culture Affect Divorce? Evidence From European Immigrants in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(3), pages 1013-1038, June.
  18. Kinge, Jonas Minet & Morris, Stephen, 2014. "Variation in the relationship between BMI and survival by socioeconomic status in Great Britain," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 67-82.
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