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Why Have Americans Become More Obese?


David M. Cutler


Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Edward L. Glaeser


Harvard University - John F. Kennedy School of Government, Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jesse M. Shapiro


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

January 2003

Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Paper No. 1994

Abstract:     
Americans have become considerably more obese over the past 25 years. This increase is primarily the result of consuming more calories. The increase in food consumption is itself the result of technological innovations which made it possible for food to be mass prepared far from the point of consumption, and consumed with lower time costs of preparation and cleaning. Price changes are normally beneficial, but may not be if people have self-control problems. This applies to some, but not most, of the population.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 65

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Date posted: January 23, 2003  

Suggested Citation

Cutler, David M. and Glaeser, Edward L. and Shapiro, Jesse M., Why Have Americans Become More Obese? (January 2003). Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Paper No. 1994. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=373121 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.373121

Contact Information

David M. Cutler
Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )
Littauer Center, Room 315A
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-5216 (Phone)
617-495-8570 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-868-3900 (Phone)
617-868-2742 (Fax)
Edward L. Glaeser (Contact Author)
Harvard University - John F. Kennedy School of Government, Department of Economics ( email )
Littauer Center
Room 315A
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2150 (Phone)
617-496-1722 (Fax)
Brookings Institution
1775 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036-2188
United States
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Jesse M. Shapiro
University of Chicago ( email )
5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-834-2688 (Phone)
773-834-8172 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://home.uchicago.edu/~jmshapir/
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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