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Going the same 'weigh': spousal correlations in obesity in the UK

Listed author(s):
  • Heather Brown
  • Arne Risa Hole

    ()

    (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)

  • Jennifer Roberts

    ()

    (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)

The obesity epidemic has received widespread media and research attention. However, the social phenomenon of obesity is still not well understood. Data from the 2004 and 2006 waves of the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) show positive and significant correlations in spousal body mass index (BMI). This paper explores three mechanisms of shared individual characteristics, social influence and shared environment to explain this correlation. A number of econometric specifications are used to investigate the role of observed individual characteristics, own health, spouse health, social influence, contextual effects and unobserved individual effects on the influence of these three hypotheses on the correlation in spousal BMI. Results indicate that social influence and shared individual characteristics, which may arise through assortative matching, both contribute to correlation in spousal BMI.

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File URL: http://www.shef.ac.uk/economics/research/serps/articles/2010_012.html
File Function: First version, 2010
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Paper provided by The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2010012.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2010
Date of revision: Jun 2010
Handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2010012
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  8. Inas Rashad & Michael Grossman & Shin-Yi Chou, 2006. "The Super Size of America: An Economic Estimation of Body Mass Index and Obesity in Adults," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 133-148, Winter.
  9. Tomas J. Philipson & Richard A. Posner, 1999. "The Long-Run Growth in Obesity as a Function of Technological Change," Working Papers 9912, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  10. Oswald, Andrew J. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2007. "Obesity, Unhappiness, and The Challenge of Affluence: Theory and Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 2717, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Zhenchao Qian, 1998. "Changes in assortative mating: The impact of age and education, 1970–1890," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 35(3), pages 279-292, August.
  12. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages 11-26, Part II, .
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