The Role of Body Weight for Health, Earnings and Life Satisfaction

27 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2019

See all articles by Olaf Hübler

Olaf Hübler

University of Hannover; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

Based on the German Socio-Economic Panel, the influence of the body mass index on health, earnings and satisfaction is analysed by gender. Basic results are: health worsens, income declines and satisfaction is poorer with higher body mass index. If control variables are added, estimates are split by gender and different effects of over- and underweight people are determined, the health estimates show nonlinear effects but the direction of action is unchanged. Effects on earnings differ. Underweight women earn more and overweight less than others. For normal-weight men the income is on average higher than for over- and underweight men. This is also confirmed for self-employed persons. The pattern for employees is equal to the total sample. No effects on life satisfaction can be found except for underweight men. They reveal less satisfaction. Only in the public sector the sign of the coefficient changes.The results for eastern Germany are different with respect to satisfaction. Overweight women are less satisfied than others while this is not confirmed for underweight men from eastern Germany. When interdependencies are taken into account and matching procedures are applied, the outcome matches to that of independent and unmatched estimates. However, no clear-cut disadvantage in income of underweight men can be found. Stable coefficients result for the health estimates while satisfaction results fluctuate. Underweight women and especially underweight men tend to less happiness. For overweight men the influence is ambiguous but more speaks in favour of a less level of satisfaction. Overweight women seem to be happier.

Keywords: over- and underweight, health, income, satisfaction, gender, self-confidence, wage earners vs. self-employed, private vs. public sector, Eastern vs. Western Germany, interdependencies, matching

JEL Classification: I15, I31, J16, J31

Suggested Citation

Hübler, Olaf, The Role of Body Weight for Health, Earnings and Life Satisfaction. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12078. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3323193

Olaf Hübler (Contact Author)

University of Hannover ( email )

Institute of Quantitative Economic Research
D-30167 Hannover
Germany
+49 511 762 4794 (Phone)
+49 511 762 3923 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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