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published in: Applied Economics

A Weighty Issue Revisited: The Dynamic Effect of Body Weight on Earnings and Satisfaction in Germany

We estimate the relationship between changes in the body mass index (bmi) and wages or satisfaction, respectively, in a panel of German employees. In contrast to previous literature, the dynamic models indicate that there is an inverse u-shaped association between bmi and wages among young workers. Among young male workers, work satisfaction is affected beyond the effect on earnings. Our finding of an implied optimum bmi in the overweight range could indicate that the recent rise in weight does not yet constitute a major limitation to productivity.

14. February 2014

Authors Frieder Kropfhäußer Marco Sunder

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A Weighty Issue Revisited: The Dynamic Effect of Body Weight on Earnings and Satisfaction in Germany

Frieder Kropfhäußer Marco Sunder

in: Applied Economics, No. 41, 2015

Abstract

We estimate the relationship between changes in the body mass index (bmi) and wages or satisfaction, respectively, in a panel of German employees. In contrast to previous findings, our dynamic models indicate an inverse u-shaped association between bmi and wages. As the implied maximum occurs in the ‘overweight’ category, the positive trend in weight may not yet constitute a major limitation to productivity. Further investigation points out a stronger association among young workers and workers with jobs that are less protected. Work satisfaction of young workers is associated with bmi beyond the effect of earnings.

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