Gender Issues

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 30–49 | Cite as

What explains race and gender differences in the relationship between obesity and wages?

  • John Cawley


Previous research has consistently found strong race and gender differences in the correlation between obesity and wages. This paper tests four possible explanations for these differences: (1) there is voluntary sorting of the obese into jobs with better health benefits at the expense of lower wages, that differs by gender and race/ethnicity; (2) weight affects self-esteem or depression in a manner that varies by gender and race/ethnicity; (3) weight affects physical health and disability in a manner that varies by gender and race/ethnicity; (4) there is weight-based discrimination in employment that differs by gender and race/ethnicity. Using National Longitudinal Survey of Youth data for 1981–2000, this paper finds evidence consistent with the physical health and disability hypothesis, but little evidence to support the other three hypotheses.


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Copyright information

© by Transaction Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Cawley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell UniversityUSA

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