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date: 16 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter surveys the empirical literature on the relationship between body weight and wages. Mixed results are found for the impact of increasing body weight on wages for different gender, age, race, and occupational groups. Most of the literature points to a negative effect of increasing body weight on wages among white women. The results are more ambiguous for men. The chapter presents various hypotheses and empirical evidence on why some people with higher body weight tend to earn lower wages, and it discusses the empirical results pointing to wage discrimination. Finally, the chapter presents an overview of recent trends and developments in the economic literature on body weight and wages.

Keywords: Body weight, BMI, overweight, obesity, wages, wage discrimination, productivity, gender differences, occupational sorting, human capital model

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