Marriage markets as explanation for why heavier people work more hours

Article English OPEN
Shoshana Grossbard ; Sankar Mukhopadhyay (2017)
  • Publisher: SpringerOpen
  • Journal: IZA Journal of Labor Economics (issn: 2193-8997)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1186/s40172-017-0059-y
  • Subject: Obesity | Labor supply | Marriage | Marriage market | Gender | Race | Economic growth, development, planning | HD72-88 | Labor. Work. Working class | HD4801-8943

Abstract Is BMI related to hours of work through marriage market mechanisms? We empirically explore this issue using data from the NLSY79 and NLSY97 and a number of estimation strategies (including OLS, IV, and sibling FE). Our IV estimates (with same-sex sibling’s BMI as an instrument and a large set of controls including wage) suggest that a one-unit increase in BMI leads to an almost 2% increase in White married women’s hours of work. However, BMI is not associated with hours of work of married men. We also find that a one-unit increase in BMI leads to a 1.4% increase in White single women’s hours of work, suggesting that single women may expect future in-marriage transfers that vary by body weight. We show that the positive association between BMI and hours of work of White single women increases with self-assessed probability of future marriage and varies with expected cumulative spousal income. Comparisons between the association between BMI and hours of work for White and Black married women suggest a possible racial gap in intra-marriage transfers from husbands to wives.
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