This paper brings a European perspective to the mainly U.S.-based literature on the relationship between obesity and labour-market outcomes. Using micro-data on workers aged 50 and over from the newly developed SHARE database, the effects of obesity on employment, hours worked, and wages across 10 European countries were analysed. Pooling all countries, the results showed that being obese was associated with a significantly lower probability of being employed for both women and men. Moreover, the results showed that obese European women earned 10% less than their non-obese counterparts. For men, however, the effect was smaller in size and insignificant. Taking health status into account, obese women still earned 9% less. No significant effect of obesity on hours worked was obtained, however. Regressions by country-group revealed that the effects of obesity differed across Europe. For instance, the effect of obesity on employment was greatest for men in southern and central Europe, while women in central Europe faced the greatest wage penalty. The results in this study suggest that the ongoing rise in the prevalence of obesity in Europe may have a non-negligible effect on the European labour market.
Lundborg, P., Bolin, K., Höjgård, S. and Lindgren, B. (2006), "Obesity and Occupational Attainment among the 50+ of Europe", Bolin, K. and Cawley, J. (Ed.) The Economics of Obesity (Advances in Health Economics and Health Services Research, Vol. 17), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 219-251. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0731-2199(06)17009-0Download as .RIS
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