Assessing the Impact of Obesity on Labor Market Outcomes
Bas van der Klaauw
Economics and Human Biology 8, 309-319 (2010)
We study the effect of obesity on employment, using rich data from the British National
Child Development Study (NCDS). The results show a significant negative association
between obesity and employment even after controlling for a rich set of demographic,
socioeconomic, environmental and behavioral variables. In order to account for the
endogeneity of obesity, we use and assess instruments introduced by Cawley (2004); the
obesity status of biological relatives. Using parental obesity as an instrument, we show
that the association between obesity and employment is no longer significant. Similar
results are obtained in a model of first differences. We provide a number of different
checks on the instruments, by exploiting the richness of the NCDS data. The results show
mixed evidence regarding the validity of the instruments.
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Last updated: November 15, 2010.