Review of Economics of the Household

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 293–311 | Cite as

Selection works both ways: BMI and marital formation among young women

  • Michael MalcolmEmail author
  • Ilker Kaya


The literature on entry into marriages has almost universally regarded a high body mass index (BMI) to be a disadvantage for women in the marriage market. But the theoretical effect of BMI on marital entry is actually uncertain because women who anticipate poor outcomes in the marriage market are more likely to accept early offers, while women with more desirable characteristics can afford to wait for a better match. Using data from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we show that female entry into marriage does decline as BMI rises, but that early marriage is nonlinear in BMI. Women with an extremely high BMI or with a BMI in the most attractive range are less likely to marry early.


BMI Obesity Marital formation 

JEL Classification

I10 J12 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsWest Chester University of PennsylvaniaWest ChesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsAmerican University of SharjahSharjahUnited Arab Emirates

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