NBER Publications by Chad Meyerhoefer

Contact and additional information for this authorAll publicationsWorking Papers only

Working Papers and Chapters

September 2013The Effect of Depression on Labor Market Outcomes
with Lizhong Peng, Samuel H. Zuvekas: w19451
We estimated the effect of depression on labor market outcomes using data from the 2004-2009 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. After accounting for the endogeneity of depression through a correlated random effects panel data specification, we found that depression reduces the likelihood of employment. We did not, however, find evidence of a causal relationship between depression and hourly wages or weekly hours worked. Our estimates are substantially smaller than those from previous studies, and imply that depression reduces the probability of employment by 2.6 percentage points. In addition, we examined the effect of depression on work impairment and found that depression increases annual work loss days by about 1.4 days (33 percent), which implies that the annual aggregate productivity ...
August 2012The Impact of Physical Education on Obesity among Elementary School Children
with John Cawley, David Frisvold: w18341
In response to the dramatic rise in childhood obesity, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other organizations have advocated increasing the time that elementary school children spend in physical education (PE) classes. However, little is known about the effect of PE on child weight. This paper measures that effect by instrumenting for child PE time with state policies, using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K) for 1998-2004. Results from IV models indicate that PE lowers BMI z-score and reduces the probability of obesity among 5th graders (in particular, boys), while the instrument is insufficiently powerful to reliably estimate effects for younger children. This represents some of the first evidence of a causal effect of PE on youth obesit...
October 2010The Medical Care Costs of Obesity: An Instrumental Variables Approach
with John Cawley: w16467
This paper is the first to use the method of instrumental variables (IV) to estimate the impact of obesity on medical costs in order to address the endogeneity of weight and to reduce the bias from reporting error in weight. Models are estimated using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey for 2000-2005. The IV model, which exploits genetic variation in weight as a natural experiment, yields estimates of the impact of obesity on medical costs that are considerably higher than the correlations reported in the previous literature. For example, obesity is associated with $676 higher annual medical care costs, but the IV results indicate that obesity raises annual medical costs by $2,826 (in 2005 dollars). The estimated annual cost of treating obesity in the U.S. adult non-institut...
June 2005The Impact of State Physical Education Requirements on Youth Physical Activity and Overweight
with John Cawley, David Newhouse: w11411
To combat childhood overweight, which has risen dramatically in the past three decades, many medical and public health organizations have called for students to spend more time in physical education (PE) classes. This paper is the first to exploit state PE requirements as quasi-natural experiments in order to estimate the causal impact of PE on student activity and weight. We study nationwide data from the YRBSS for 1999, 2001, and 2003 merged with data on state minimum PE requirements from the 1994 and 2000 School Health Policies and Programs Study and the 2001 Shape of the Nation Report.

We find that certain state regulations are effective in raising the number of minutes during which students are active in PE. Our results also indicate that additional PE time raises the number o...

Contact and additional information for this authorAll publicationsWorking Papers only


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