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The Weight of Success: The Body Mass Index and Economic Well-being in South Africa

Martin Wittenberg ()

No 65, SALDRU Working Papers from Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town

Abstract: We show that body mass increases with economics resources among most South Africans, although not all. Among Black South Africans the relationship is non-decreasing over virtually the entire range of incomes/wealth. Furthermore in this groupd other measures of success (e.g. employment and education) are also associated with increases in body mass. This is true both in 1998 (the Demographic and Health Survey) and 2008 (National Income Dynamics Survey). This suggests the body mass can be used as a crude measure of wellbeing. Used in this way it suggests that unemployment is involuntary. This is true even if we control for household fixed effects. This is joint SALDRU/DataFirst Working Paper as part of the Mellon Data Quality Project.

Keywords: obesity; asset index; body mass index (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D31 I19 I32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr, nep-dem, nep-hap and nep-hea
Date: 2011-09
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