Indebted and Overweight: The Link between Weight and Household Debt

44 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2012

See all articles by Susan L. Averett

Susan L. Averett

Lafayette College - Department of Economics & Business

Julie K. Smith

Lafayette College - Department of Economics & Business

Abstract

There is a substantial correlation between household debt and bodyweight. Theory suggests that a causal relationship between debt and bodyweight could run in either direction or both could be caused by unobserved common factors. We use OLS and Propensity Score Matching to ascertain if household debt (measured by credit card indebtedness and having trouble paying bills) is a potential cause of obesity. We find a strong positive correlation between debt and weight for women but this seems driven largely by unobservables. In contrast, men with trouble paying their bills are thinner and this is robust to various specification checks.

Keywords: obesity, credit card debt, propensity score matching

JEL Classification: I10, I12, I14

Suggested Citation

Averett, Susan and Smith, Julie K., Indebted and Overweight: The Link between Weight and Household Debt. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6898. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2161235

Susan Averett (Contact Author)

Lafayette College - Department of Economics & Business ( email )

Easton, PA 18042
United States
610-250-5307 (Phone)
610-250-8961 (Fax)

Julie K. Smith

Lafayette College - Department of Economics & Business ( email )

Easton, PA 18042
United States

HOME PAGE: http://ww2.lafayette.edu/~smithjk/

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