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The Impact of Obesity on Wages

John Cawley ()

Journal of Human Resources, 2004, vol. 39, issue 2

Abstract: Previous studies of the relationship between body weight and wages have found mixed results. This paper uses a larger data set and several regression strategies in an attempt to generate more consistent estimates of the effect of weight on wages. Differences across gender, race, and ethnicity are explored. This paper finds that weight lowers wages for white females; OLS estimates indicate that a difference in weight of two standard deviations (roughly 65 pounds) is associated with a difference in wages of 9 percent. In absolute value, this is equivalent to the wage effect of roughly one and a half years of education or three years of work experience. Negative correlations between weight and wages observed for other gender-ethnic groups appear to be due to unobserved heterogeneity.

Date: 2004
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