Body Weight and Women's Labor Market Outcomes
John Cawley ()
No 7841, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc
Several studies have found that, all else equal, heavier women earn less. Previous research has been unable to determine whether high weight is the cause of low wages, the result of low wages, or whether unobserved factors cause both higher weight and lower wages. Applying the method of instrumental variables to data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, this paper attempts to generate consistent estimates of the effect of weight on labor market outcomes for women. Three labor market outcomes are studied: hourly wages, employment, and sector of occupation. This paper finds that weight lowers wages for white women; among this group, a difference in weight of two standard deviations (roughly sixty-five pounds) is associated with a difference in wages of 7%. In absolute value, this is equivalent to the wage effect of roughly one year of education, two years of job tenure, or three years of work experience. In contrast, this paper finds only weak evidence that weight lowers wages for hispanic women, and no evidence that weight lowers the wages of black women. This paper also concludes that there is no effect of weight on the probability of employment or sector of occupation.
JEL-codes: J3 I1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Note: HE LS
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations View citations in EconPapers (62) Track citations by RSS feed
Published as Cawley, John. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages." Journal of Human Resources, Spring 2004, 39(2): 451-474.
Downloads: (external link)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: http://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7841
Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc
Address: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Contact information at EDIRC.
Series data maintained by ().