Why Have Americans Become More Obese?

65 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2003  

David M. Cutler

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Edward L. Glaeser

Harvard University - John F. Kennedy School of Government, Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jesse M. Shapiro

University of Chicago; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2003

Abstract

Americans have become considerably more obese over the past 25 years. This increase is primarily the result of consuming more calories. The increase in food consumption is itself the result of technological innovations which made it possible for food to be mass prepared far from the point of consumption, and consumed with lower time costs of preparation and cleaning. Price changes are normally beneficial, but may not be if people have self-control problems. This applies to some, but not most, of the population.

Suggested Citation

Cutler, David M. and Glaeser, Edward L. and Shapiro, Jesse M., Why Have Americans Become More Obese? (January 2003). Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Paper No. 1994. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=373121 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.373121

David M. Cutler

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Edward L. Glaeser (Contact Author)

Harvard University - John F. Kennedy School of Government, Department of Economics ( email )

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Jesse M. Shapiro

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