Labor Market Consequences: Employment, Wages, Disability, and Absenteeism

Susan L. Averett

in The Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Obesity

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199736362
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Labor Market Consequences: Employment, Wages, Disability, and Absenteeism

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This chapter is concerned with whether or not obesity causes adverse labor-market outcomes, placing particular emphasis on the econometric methods used to overcome the potential endogeneity of obesity. The research using non-U.S. data provides more evidence that obesity exerts a negative and significant impact on wages, but the results are more mixed. The chapter then turns its attention to other labor-market outcomes that may be adversely affected by obesity. Job absenteeism and employment disability are potentially an important indirect cost of obesity that deserves more scrutiny in order to understand the true costs of the obesity epidemic. Recent experimental evidence from Sweden presents convincing evidence that the obese are less likely to be hired, some of which might reflect customer discrimination.

Keywords: obesity; labor market; wages; job absenteeism; employment disability; customer discrimination

Article.  10447 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Health, Education, and Welfare

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