NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Body Composition and Wages

Roy Wada, Erdal Tekin

NBER Working Paper No. 13595
Issued in November 2007
NBER Program(s):   HE   LS

This paper examines the effect of body composition on wages. We develop measures of body composition – body fat (BF) and fat-free mass (FFM) – using data on bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) that are available in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III and estimate wage models for white respondents in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979. Previous research used body size or BMI for measuring obesity despite the growing concern in the medical literature that BMI-based measures do not distinguish between body fat and fat-free body mass and that BMI does not adequately control for non-homogeneity inside human body. Therefore, measures used in this paper represent a useful alternative to BMI-based proxies of obesity. This paper also contributes to the growing literature on the role of non-cognitive skills on wage determination. Our results indicate that calculated BF is unambiguously associated with decreased wages for both males and females among whites We also present evidence indicating that FFM is consistently associated with increased wages. We show that these results are not the artifacts of unobserved heterogeneity. Finally, our findings are robust to numerous specification checks and to a large number of alternative BIA prediction equations from which the body composition measures are derived.

download in pdf format
   (190 K)

email paper

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

This paper is available as PDF (190 K) or via email.

This paper was revised on April 29, 2009

Acknowledgments

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Published: Wada, Roy & Tekin, Erdal, 2010. "Body composition and wages," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 242-254, July.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Mocan and Tekin w12019 Ugly Criminals
Mocan and Tekin w15101 Obesity, Self-esteem and Wages
Cawley and Burkhauser w12291 Beyond BMI: The Value of More Accurate Measures of Fatness and Obesity in Social Science Research
Alesina and Tabellini w11600 Why is Fiscal Policy Often Procyclical?
Bhattacharya and Bundorf w11303 The Incidence of the Healthcare Costs of Obesity
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us