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A physiological foundation for the nutrition-based efficiency wage model

Carl-Johan Dalgaard () and Holger Strulik ()

Oxford Economic Papers, 2011, vol. 63, issue 2, 232-253

Abstract: Drawing on recent research on allometric scaling and energy consumption, the present paper develops a nutrition-based efficiency wage model from first principles. The biologically micro-founded model allows us to address empirical criticism of the original nutrition-based efficiency wage model. By extending the model with respect to heterogeneity in worker body size and a physiologically founded impact of body size on productivity, we demonstrate that the nutrition-based efficiency wage model is compatible with the empirical regularity that taller workers simultaneously earn higher wages and are less likely to be unemployed in less developed economies. The theory also provides an answer to the question of why the height-unemployment association may disappear in the process of development. Copyright 2011 Oxford University Press 2010 All rights reserved, Oxford University Press.

Date: 2011
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