NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Christian Gregory

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April 2011Where Does the Wage Penalty Bite?
with Christopher J. Ruhm
in Economic Aspects of Obesity, Michael Grossman and Naci H. Mocan, editors
May 2009Where Does the Wage Penalty Bite?
with Christopher J. Ruhm: w14984
The literature examining the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and wages has fairly consistently found that BMI has a negative impact on earnings for women, and less (if any) consequences for men. In this paper, we relax the assumption -- largely unquestioned in this research -- that the conditional mean of wages is linear or piecewise linear in body mass index (BMI). Using data from the 1986 and 1999-2005 Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we estimate semi-parametric wage models that allow earnings to vary with BMI in a highly flexible manner. For women, the results show that earnings peak at levels far below the clinical threshold of "obesity" or even "overweight". For men, our main estimates suggest a reasonably flat BMI-wage profile that peaks early in the "overweight" category. ...

Published: Where Does the Wage Penalty Bite?, Christian A. Gregory, Christopher J. Ruhm. in Economic Aspects of Obesity, Grossman and Mocan. 2011

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