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Marriage markets as explanation for why heavier people work more hours

Shoshana Grossbard () and Sankar Mukhopadhyay

IZA Journal of Labor Economics, 2017, vol. 6, issue 1, 1-30

Abstract: Abstract Is BMI related to hours of work through marriage market mechanisms? We empirically explore this issue using data from the NLSY79 and NLSY97 and a number of estimation strategies (including OLS, IV, and sibling FE). Our IV estimates (with same-sex sibling’s BMI as an instrument and a large set of controls including wage) suggest that a one-unit increase in BMI leads to an almost 2% increase in White married women’s hours of work. However, BMI is not associated with hours of work of married men. We also find that a one-unit increase in BMI leads to a 1.4% increase in White single women’s hours of work, suggesting that single women may expect future in-marriage transfers that vary by body weight. We show that the positive association between BMI and hours of work of White single women increases with self-assessed probability of future marriage and varies with expected cumulative spousal income. Comparisons between the association between BMI and hours of work for White and Black married women suggest a possible racial gap in intra-marriage transfers from husbands to wives.

Keywords: Obesity; Labor supply; Marriage; Marriage market; Gender; Race; Intra-household bargaining; Personal finances (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J22 I12 J12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.1186/s40172-017-0059-y

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