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Source: 8th World Congress on Health Economics
Resulting in 1 citation.
1. Gilleskie, Donna B.
Han, Euna
Norton, Edward C.
Untangling the Direct and Indirect Effects of Body Mass Dynamics on Earnings
Presented: Toronto, Ontario, 8th World Congress on Health Economics, July 2011
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: International Health Economics Association
Keyword(s): Body Mass Index (BMI); Earnings; Modeling, Random Effects; Obesity; Wages, Women

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

In this study we aim to assess the effect of body mass on earnings. It has been shown that the body mass of white females is negatively correlated with wages (Cawley, 2004). We argue that this observed correlation may capture the influence of body mass on life-cycle decisions such as educational attainment, work experience, marital status, and fertility, which, in turn, determine wages. Similarly, these behaviors may impact body mass over the life cycle. Admittedly, body mass may still have an observed direct impact on wages if weight affects productivity on the job (which, in most data sets, is immeasurable) or if discrimination (also immeasurable) exists. To disentangle these direct and indirect effects we propose to model wages of individuals while jointly explaining accumulation of education and work experience, the decisions to work, to marry, and to have children, and the evolution of body mass over time. We use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY, 1979 cohort) and construct a research sample of individuals who are followed annually from the ages of 18-26 in 1983 through the ages of 37-45 in 2002. Because we model many individual decisions and outcomes e.g., education, employment, marriage, children, wages, and body mass) that are potentially correlated through unobserved permanent and time-varying individual characteristics, we use an estimation framework that simultaneously explains variation in the multiple behaviors by variation in both observed and unobserved factors. We model the unobserved factors using a discrete non-linear random effects method that does not require us to make assumptions about the distribution of these unobservables. Rather than simply recover the effect of body mass on the average wage, we estimate the density of wages conditional on observable and unobservable variables using the conditional density estimation technique.
Bibliography Citation
Gilleskie, Donna B., Euna Han and Edward C. Norton. "Untangling the Direct and Indirect Effects of Body Mass Dynamics on Earnings." Presented: Toronto, Ontario, 8th World Congress on Health Economics, July 2011.