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Does obesity influence labour market outcomes among working-age adults? Evidence from Canadian longitudinal data

TitleDoes obesity influence labour market outcomes among working-age adults? Evidence from Canadian longitudinal data
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsLarose, S. L., Kpelitse K. A., M. Campbell K., Zaric G. S., and Sarma S.
JournalEconomics and Human Biology
Volume20
Pages26 - 41
Date PublishedMarch
Keywordscanada, employment, heterogeneity, income, obesity, wages
Abstract

Although a negative association between obesity and labour market outcomes is commonly reported in many studies, the causal nature of this relationship remains unclear. Using nationally representative longitudinal data from the last six confidential master files (2000/2001-2010/2011) of the National Population Health Survey, we examine the association between obesity and employment participation and earnings among working-age adults in Canada. After controlling for demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, lifestyle factors and time-invariant individual heterogeneity, our results show that obesity is not significantly associated with employment participation but is associated with reduced hourly wage rate and annual income among women by about 4% and 4.5%, respectively. The corresponding results for men show that obesity is associated with about 2% reduction in wage rate and income, but significant at 10% level. However, after controlling for the potential reverse causality bias using the lagged measure of obesity, the effect of obesity on wage rate and income became positive or statistically non-significant. Our findings suggest that obesity is not causally associated with negative labour market outcomes among working-age men in Canada. For working-age women, we find limited evidence of negative labour market outcomes.

URLhttp://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/s1570677x15000702