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A Silver Lining? The Connection Between Gasoline Prices and Obesity

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Abstract

I find evidence of a negative association between gasoline prices and body weight using a fixed effects model with several robustness checks. I also show that increases in gas prices are associated with additional walking and a reduction in the frequency with which people eat at restaurants, explaining their effect on weight. My estimates imply that 8% of the rise in obesity between 1979 and 2004 can be attributed to the concurrent drop in real gas prices, and that a permanent $1 increase in gasoline prices would reduce overweight and obesity in the U.S. by 7% and 10%.

Suggested Citation

  • Courtemanche, Charles, 2008. "A Silver Lining? The Connection Between Gasoline Prices and Obesity," UNCG Economics Working Papers 09-1, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics, revised 01 Jan 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:uncgec:2009_001
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    6. Wilde, Parke E. & Cook, Peggy & Gundersen, Craig & Nord, Mark & Tiehen, Laura, 2000. "The Decline In Food Stamp Program Participation In The 1990'S," Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports 33793, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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    8. David C. Ribar & Marilyn Edelhoch & Qiduan Liu, 2008. "Watching the Clocks: The Role of Food Stamp Recertification and TANF Time Limits in Caseload Dynamics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
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    12. George Davis & Wen You, 2010. "The time cost of food at home: general and food stamp participant profiles," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(20), pages 2537-2552.
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    Cited by:

    1. Boyd-Swan, Casey & Herbst, Chris M., 2012. "Pain at the pump: Gasoline prices and subjective well-being," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 160-175.
    2. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:4:p:1986-2007 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Wehby, George L. & Courtemanche, Charles J., 2012. "The heterogeneity of the cigarette price effect on body mass index," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 719-729.
    4. Sung, Jaesang, 2017. "The Impact of Housing Prices on Health in U.S. Before, During and After the Great Recession," MPRA Paper 78831, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Jeon, Hocheol, 2014. "Does obesity matter for the Environment? Evidence from Vehicle Choices and Driving," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 170550, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    6. Dragone, D. & Ziebarth, N.R., 2015. "Non-Separable Time Preferences and Novelty Consumption: Theory and Evidence from the East German Transition to Capitalism," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 15/28, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    7. Brady P. Horn & Johanna Catherine Maclean & Michael R. Strain, 2017. "Do Minimum Wage Increases Influence Worker Health?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(4), pages 1986-2007, October.
    8. Charles J. Courtemanche & Joshua C. Pinkston & Christopher J. Ruhm & George L. Wehby, 2016. "Can Changing Economic Factors Explain the Rise in Obesity?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 1266-1310, April.
    9. repec:rre:publsh:v47:y:2017:i:3:p:309-329 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Dragone, Davide & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2015. "Economic Development, Novelty Consumption, and Body Weight: Evidence from the East German Transition to Capitalism," IZA Discussion Papers 8967, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Anthony M Yezer & Stephen J Popick, 2017. "Climate Preferences, Obesity, and Unobserved Heterogeneity in Cities," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 47(3), pages 309-329, Fall.
    12. Li, Shanjun & Liu, Yanyan & Zhang, Junjie, 2011. "Lose some, save some: Obesity, automobile demand, and gasoline consumption," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 52-66, January.
    13. Charles Courtemanche & Garth Heutel & Patrick McAlvanah, 2015. "Impatience, Incentives and Obesity," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(582), pages 1-31, February.
    14. Dragone, Davide & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2017. "Non-separable time preferences, novelty consumption and body weight: Theory and evidence from the East German transition to capitalism," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 41-65.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gas price; obesity; body weight; gasoline price; gasoline; transportation; restaurants;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

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