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Obesity, Weight Loss, and Employment Prospects – Evidence from a Randomized Trial

  • Arndt Reichert


This study presents credible estimates for the causal effect of a variation in obesity on employment. By exploring random assignment of a weight loss intervention based on monetary rewards, I provide convincing evidence that weight loss positively affects the employment prospects of obese women but not of obese men. Consistent with this, significant effects of weight loss on proxy variables for labor productivity are found only for obese women.

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Paper provided by Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen in its series Ruhr Economic Papers with number 0381.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rwi:repape:0381
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  1. Keith Finlay & Leandro M. Magnusson, 2009. "Implementing weak-instrument robust tests for a general class of instrumental-variables models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 9(3), pages 398-421, September.
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  26. Morris, Stephen, 2007. "The impact of obesity on employment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 413-433, June.
  27. Melissa Osborne & Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1137-1176, December.
  28. Euna Han & Edward C. Norton & Sally C. Stearns, 2009. "Weight and wages: fat versus lean paychecks," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 535-548.
  29. Bhattacharya, Jay & Bundorf, M. Kate, 2009. "The incidence of the healthcare costs of obesity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 649-658, May.
  30. James J. Heckman, 1976. "The Common Structure of Statistical Models of Truncation, Sample Selection and Limited Dependent Variables and a Simple Estimator for Such Models," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 5, number 4, pages 475-492 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. David S. Lee, 2009. "Training, Wages, and Sample Selection: Estimating Sharp Bounds on Treatment Effects," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 1071-1102.
  32. Lindeboom, Maarten & Lundborg, Petter & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2010. "Assessing the impact of obesity on labor market outcomes," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 309-319, December.
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