IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

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

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Our checks indicate that this address may not be valid because: 404 Not Found. If this is indeed the case, please notify (Jane Rawlings)

File Function: Main text
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York in its series Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers with number 13/20.

in new window

Date of creation: Apr 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:13/20
Contact details of provider: Postal: HEDG/HERC, Department of Economics and Related Studies, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom
Phone: (0)1904 323776
Fax: (0)1904 323759
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Mobius, Markus & Rosenblat, Tanya, 2010. "Why Beauty Matters," Staff General Research Papers 32112, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. Edward C Norton & Euna Han, 2007. "Genetic Information, Obesity, and Labor Market Outcomes," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 07/15, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  4. Jeff E. Biddle & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1995. "Beauty, Productivity and Discrimination: Lawyers' Looks and Lucre," NBER Working Papers 5366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Charness, Gary B & Gneezy, Uri, 2008. "Incentives to Exercise," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt3tc3j5x7, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  6. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2001. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262232197, June.
  7. Morris, Stephen, 2006. "Body mass index and occupational attainment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 347-364, March.
  8. 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.
  9. Bauer, Thomas K. & Kluve, Jochen & Schaffner, Sandra & Schmidt, Christoph M., 2008. "Fiscal Effects of Minimum Wages: An Analysis for Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 3875, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Stephen G. Donald & Kevin Lang, 2007. "Inference with Difference-in-Differences and Other Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 221-233, May.
  11. Colin Vance & Nolan Ritter, 2012. "The Phantom Menace of Omitted Variables," Conflict Management and Peace Science, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 29(2), pages 233-238, April.
  12. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  13. Borghans Lex & Lee Duckworth Angela & Heckman James J. & Weel Bas ter, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," ROA Research Memorandum 001, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  14. Keith Finlay & Leandro M. Magnusson, 2009. "Implementing Weak Instrument Robust Tests for a General Class of Instrumental Variables Models," Working Papers 0901, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  15. Susan Averett & Sanders Korenman, 1993. "The Economic Reality of the Beauty Myth," NBER Working Papers 4521, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Joshua Angrist & Victor Lavy, 2009. "The Effects of High Stakes High School Achievement Awards: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1384-1414, September.
  18. Charles L. Baum & William F. Ford, 2004. "The wage effects of obesity: a longitudinal study," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(9), pages 885-899.
  19. 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.
  20. Dan-Olof Rooth, 2009. "Obesity, Attractiveness, and Differential Treatment in Hiring: A Field Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
  21. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. repec:rwi:repape:0368 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. 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.
  24. Cawley, John & Han, Euna & Norton, Edward C., 2009. "Obesity and labor market outcomes among legal immigrants to the United States from developing countries," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 153-164, July.
  25. 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.
  26. repec:rwi:repape:0373 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. Yona Rubinstein & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Importance of Noncognitive Skills: Lessons from the GED Testing Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 145-149, May.
  28. Morris, Stephen, 2007. "The impact of obesity on employment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 413-433, June.
  29. Giuseppe Bertola & Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2001. "Comparative Analysis of Labor Market Outcomes: Lessons for the US from International Long-Run Evidence," NBER Working Papers 8526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Kosuke Imai & Gary King & Elizabeth A. Stuart, 2008. "Misunderstandings between experimentalists and observationalists about causal inference," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 171(2), pages 481-502.
  31. Michael P. Murray, 2006. "Avoiding Invalid Instruments and Coping with Weak Instruments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 111-132, Fall.
  32. Contoyannis, Paul & Jones, Andrew M., 2004. "Socio-economic status, health and lifestyle," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 965-995, September.
  33. 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.
  34. Spenkuch, Jörg L., 2012. "Moral hazard and selection among the poor: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 72-85.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:13/20. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Rawlings)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.