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http://ssrn.com/abstract=312659
 
 

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The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination


Darius Lakdawalla


RAND Corporation; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Tomas Philipson


University of Chicago; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

May 2002

NBER Working Paper No. w8946

Abstract:     
This paper provides a theoretical and empirical examination of the long-run growth in weight over time. We argue that technological change has induced weight growth by making home- and market-production more sedentary and by lowering food prices through agricultural innovation. We analyze how such technological change leads to unexpected relationships among income, food prices, and weight. Using individual-level data from 1976 to 1994, we then find that such technology-based reductions in food prices and job-related exercise have had significant impacts on weight across time and populations. In particular, we find that about forty percent of the recent growth in weight seems to be due to agricultural innovation that has lowered food prices, while sixty percent may be due to demand factors such as declining physical activity from technological changes in home and market production.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 43

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Date posted: May 17, 2002  

Suggested Citation

Lakdawalla, Darius and Philipson, Tomas, The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination (May 2002). NBER Working Paper No. w8946. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=312659

Contact Information

Darius Lakdawalla (Contact Author)
RAND Corporation ( email )
P.O. Box 2138
1700 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Tomas J. Philipson
University of Chicago ( email )
Graduate School of Business
1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, 60637
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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