Economic Insecurity and the Spread of Obesity in Social Networks

WSU School of Economic Sciences Working Paper No. 2010-2

14 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2010

See all articles by Michael G. Barnes

Michael G. Barnes

Washington State University - School of Economic Sciences

Trenton G. Smith

University of Otago

Jonathan Yoder

Washington State University - School of Economic Sciences

Date Written: February 10, 2010

Abstract

A number of recent studies have provided evidence suggesting that increases in body weight may spread via social networks. The mechanism(s) by which this might occur have become the subject of much speculation, but to date little direct evidence has been available. We provide evidence for one such mechanism: economic insecurity. Using a sample of working-age men from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we show that cohabitation with working (but not non-working) adults appears to be protective against weight gain. We address the potential endogeneity of the independent variable by employing instrumental variables in our regression analysis.

Keywords: overweight, contagion, obesity, networks

JEL Classification: D12, I12

Suggested Citation

Barnes, Michael G. and Smith, Trenton G. and Yoder, Jonathan, Economic Insecurity and the Spread of Obesity in Social Networks (February 10, 2010). WSU School of Economic Sciences Working Paper No. 2010-2, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1552185 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1552185

Michael G. Barnes

Washington State University - School of Economic Sciences ( email )

P.O. Box 646210
Hulbert Hall 101
Pullman, WA 99164-6210
United States

Trenton G. Smith (Contact Author)

University of Otago ( email )

PO Box 56
Dunedin
New Zealand

HOME PAGE: http://www.business.otago.ac.nz/econ/staff/smith.html

Jonathan Yoder

Washington State University - School of Economic Sciences ( email )

P.O. Box 646210
Hulbert Hall 101
Pullman, WA 99164-6210
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.ses.wsu.edu/people/yoder.htm

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
106
Abstract Views
1,110
rank
303,270
PlumX Metrics