Decomposing Body Mass Index Gaps between Mediterranean Countries: A Counterfactual Quantile Regression Analysis

Posted: 24 Oct 2009 Last revised: 29 Oct 2009

See all articles by Joan Costa-Font

Joan Costa-Font

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Daniele Fabbri

University of Bologna - Department of Economics

Joan Gil

University of Barcelona

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

Wide cross-country variation in obesity rates has been reported between European Union member states. Although the existing cross-country differences have not been analyzed in depth, they contain important information on health production determinants. In this paper we apply a methodology for conducting standardized cross-country comparisons of body mass index (BMI). We draw on estimations of the marginal density function of BMI for Italy and Spain in 2003, two countries with similar GDP and socio-economic conditions. We produce different counterfactual distribution estimates using covariates (health production inputs) specified in a quantile regression. Our findings suggest that Spain-to- Italy BMI gaps among females are largely explained by cross-country variation in the returns to each covariate, especially for younger women. We find that adverse underlying determinants do not explain the gap observed in particular between younger Spanish females and their Italian counterfactuals; behavioural differences appear to be the key. We tentatively conclude that Spanish policy on obesity should target mainly younger females.

Keywords: BMI, Country weight gap, Quantile regression, Counterfactual decomposition, Mediterranean countries, Italy, Spain

JEL Classification: I18, J15, J16

Suggested Citation

Costa-Font, Joan and Fabbri, Daniele and Gil, Joan, Decomposing Body Mass Index Gaps between Mediterranean Countries: A Counterfactual Quantile Regression Analysis (2009). Economics & Human Biology, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 351-365, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1492539

Joan Costa-Font

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://joancostaifont.org/

Daniele Fabbri (Contact Author)

University of Bologna - Department of Economics ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 2
Bologna, 40126
Italy

Joan Gil

University of Barcelona ( email )

Department of Economic Theory
Faculty of Economics
Barcelona, Barcelona 08034
Spain

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