NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Sheldon Danziger

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Working Papers

May 2004Obesity as a Barrier to the Transition from Welfare to Work
with John Cawley: w10508
This paper utilizes a rich longitudinal data set -- the Women's Employment Study (WES) to investigate whether obesity, which is common among women of low socioeconomic status, is a barrier to employment and earnings for current and former welfare recipients. We find evidence that, among current and former welfare recipients, high body weight is a greater barrier to labor market success for white women than for African-American women. Among white women, we consistently find a negative correlation between weight and labor market outcomes such as employment, hours worked, and earnings. Among African American women, weight is not correlated with employment, hours worked, or earnings, but it is correlated with the percentage of months spent on welfare between interviews. We provide suggestiv...

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