Determinants of Health
The wage effects of obesity: a longitudinal study
Article first published online: 24 FEB 2004
Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Volume 13, Issue 9, pages 885–899, September 2004
How to Cite
Baum, C. L. and Ford, W. F. (2004), The wage effects of obesity: a longitudinal study. Health Econ., 13: 885–899. doi: 10.1002/hec.881
- Issue published online: 7 SEP 2004
- Article first published online: 24 FEB 2004
- Manuscript Accepted: 25 SEP 2003
- Manuscript Received: 28 AUG 2002
- body mass index
We use National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) data to examine the effects of obesity on wages by gender. Sample means indicate that both men and women experience a persistent obesity wage penalty over the first two decades of their careers. We then control for a standard set of socioeconomic and familial variables but find that standard covariates do not explain why obese workers experience persistent wage penalties. This suggests that other variables – including job discrimination, health-related factors and/or obese workers' behavior patterns – may be the channels through which obesity adversely affects wages. The study closes with a discussion of the public policy implications suggested by these findings. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.