Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Obesity and employment

A very interesting estimate by the OECD shows that women with low level of education are far more likely than men to become obese.

WSJ posted an interesting article discussing the effect of weight on pay rates in Germany and the United States. The study found that employers treat women in a similar way than fashion industry does; by rewarding very thin women with higher pay. On the other hand, very thin men tend to get paid by $8,437 less than men with average weight. As men pack up their weight, their payroll goes up as well up to the point where they become obese. According to the study, pay-maximizing male weight is 207 pounds (93.89 kg). After that point, the loss of pay and productivity is higher for male than female. The study found that women who weigh 25 pounds (11.34 kg) less than the group norm, earned an average $15,572 more than women of normal weight. Another study found that direct and indirect cost of obesity for women is $4,879 which is about twice as much as for men ($2,646).

Overall, the obesity strongly reduces employment prospects and wage rates for both male and female. It also increases social risk such as exclusion and significantly lower mobility. Obese people find it more difficult to increase the payroll and employment status. This pattern is confirmed both at the theoretical and empirical level.


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