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Gender, body mass, and socioeconomic status: new evidence from the PSID.

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Department of Sociology, New York University, New York, NY, USA.


Previous research provides evidence of a negative effect of body mass on women's economic outcomes. We extend this research by using a much older sample of individuals from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and by using a body mass measure that is lagged by 15 years instead of the traditional 7 years. One of the main contributions of this paper is a replication of previous research findings given our differing samples and measures. We compare OLS estimates with sibling fixed effects estimates and find that obesity is associated with an 18% reduction in women's wages, a 25% reduction in women's family income, and a 16% reduction in women's probability of marriage. These effects are robust--they persist much longer than previously understood and they persist across the life course, affecting older women as well as younger women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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