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On the relationship between body mass index and marital dissolution

Héctor Bellido () and Miriam Marcén

Economic Modelling, 2020, vol. 91, issue C, 326-340

Abstract: The economic literature on body mass index (BMI) and marital dissolution uses simple correlations to suggest that it is the latter that alters the former. We argue here that the opposite is also possible because the higher the BMI, the lower the remarriage potential and the greater the demand for health care, which should decrease the probability of marital dissolution. We empirically explore the role of BMI on marital dissolution showing that those who are overweight are more likely to stay married. This is maintained when we examine causality by exploiting the exogeneity of the dates during which data are collected combined with BMI’s seasonality. Although BMI appears to stabilize marriage, this implies a reduction in the bargaining power of individuals with a high BMI in marriage, which, according to our findings, has a greater impact on White women.

Keywords: Body mass index; Health; Divorce; Family economics; Marriage (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I1 J12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.econmod.2020.05.024

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