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Obesity: An unitended consequence of taxes and the gender wage gap?

  • Peralta-Alva Adrian

    (University of MIami)

  • Pere Gomis- Porqueras

    (University of Miami)

We perform a dynamic general equilibrium analysis of the observed increase in the weight of the average American adult over the 1960-2005 period. Existing evidence suggests that this fifteen pound increase in weight can be attributed to the dramatic raise in the consumption of foods prepared away from home, which resulted in higher caloric intake. We evaluate the impact of the observed trends in taxes and in the gender wage gap on the caloric intake, food composition and time use of American adults, by gender and marital status. Surprisingly, we find that lower taxes and gender wage gap can account for more than two thirds of the changes in calories consumed and food composition observed in the data. Our general equilibrium analysis can also account for some of the observed movements in time devoted to market and food preparation activities, and reconciles the simultaneous increase in price and consumption of foods prepared away from home.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 0503014.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: 17 Mar 2005
Date of revision: 28 Mar 2005
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0503014
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 19
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  1. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1994, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. 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.
  3. Greenwood, J. & Hercowitz, Z. & Krusell, P., 1995. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9510, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  4. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," NBER Working Papers 8946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher & Phillip B. Levine, 2002. "Maternal Employment and Overweight Children," NBER Working Papers 8770, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Larry E. Jones & Rodolfo E. Manuelli & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2003. "Why are married women working so much?," Staff Report 317, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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