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Working the Weight Out? Working Time Reduction and Overweight

Joan Costa-Font and B. Saenz de Miera Juarez

Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers from HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York

Abstract: We exploit the implementation of a national policy (the Aubry reform) that lead to the reduction of working time implemented across France (which kept individual salaries unaltered) to study the effect of a reduced working week on overweight. We draw variation from Alsace-Moselle, where hours of work fell by less than the rest of France for the first two years when it was forced to fully comply with national policy. We use longitudinal data for 1997-2006 following employees of the largest company in the country (EDF-GDF) which was among the very first to implement the 35-hour workweek in 2000. We show evidence of 6.7 percentage points increases in the probability of overweight among blue-collar workers exposed to the reform. That is, an average 9% increase in overweight resulting from an additional 10% working time reduction. In contrast, we find no effect among white-collar workers. The effect is driven by an increase in overweight among normal-weight individuals before the reform. The effects are robust to different specifications, the effect of retirement and placebo tests, alongside the effect on other areas of France, as well as on a weighted control group.

Keywords: overweight; obesity; working times; difference-in-differences; blue collar; white collar; Body Mass Index (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I13 J81 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur, nep-hea and nep-lab
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