Optimal Weight: Are Government Goals for Reducing Obesity Sensible?

6 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2011

See all articles by Michael L. Marlow

Michael L. Marlow

California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo

Alden Shiers

California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo - Economics

Date Written: July 7, 2011

Abstract

There is no question that the prevalence of obesity in the United States has risen dramatically in recent years. Researchers and policymakers typically assume its reduction is desirable without addressing the more fundamental issue of its optimal level. We argue that optimal obesity levels have increased over time and that optimal levels are not identical for all individuals or groups. We further argue that increasingly aggressive government policies intended to curb obesity are inappropriate. There is little evidence that obesity stems from some sort of market failure. And even if a negative externality exists, government does not command the required expertise to systematically reduce its prevalence toward optimal levels.

Suggested Citation

Marlow, Michael L. and Shiers, Alden, Optimal Weight: Are Government Goals for Reducing Obesity Sensible? (July 7, 2011). Regulation, Vol. 34, No. 2, p. 10, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1881023

Michael L. Marlow (Contact Author)

California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo ( email )

San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
United States

Alden Shiers

California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo - Economics ( email )

United States

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

Paper statistics

Downloads
95
Abstract Views
1,409
rank
391,372
PlumX Metrics