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Gender, Body Mass, and Socioeconomic Status: New Evidence from the PSID

The Economics of Obesity

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1406-5, eISBN: 978-1-84950-482-9

Publication date: 1 January 2006


Previous research provides evidence of a negative effect of body mass on women's economic outcomes. We extend this research by using a much older sample of individuals from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and by using a body mass measure that is lagged by 15 years instead of the traditional 7 years. One of the main contributions of this paper is a replication of previous research findings given our differing samples and measures. We compare OLS estimates with sibling fixed effects estimates and find that obesity is associated with an 18% reduction in women's wages, a 25% reduction in women's family income, and a 16% reduction in women's probability of marriage. These effects are robust – they persist much longer than previously understood and they persist across the life course, affecting older women as well as younger women.


Conley, D. and Glauber, R. (2006), "Gender, Body Mass, and Socioeconomic Status: New Evidence from the PSID", Bolin, K. and Cawley, J. (Ed.) The Economics of Obesity (Advances in Health Economics and Health Services Research, Vol. 17), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 253-275.



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