Obesity, Self-esteem and Wages
NBER Working Paper No. 15101
Obesity is associated with serious health problems, and it can generate adverse economic outcomes. We analyze a nationally-representative sample of young American adults to investigate the interplay between obesity, wages and self-esteem. Wages can be impacted directly by obesity, and they can be influenced by obesity indirectly through the channel of obesity to self-esteem to wages. We find that female wages are directly influenced by body weight, and self-esteem has an impact on wages in case of whites. Being overweight or obese has a negative impact on the self-esteem of females and of black males. The results suggest that obesity has the most significant impact on white women’s wages.