Obesity and labor market outcomes in Mexico

  • Raymundo M. Campos-Vazquez El Colegio de México
  • Roy Nuñez Universidad de las Américas Puebla
Keywords: body mass index, gender, labor, Mexico, wage penalty
JEL Classification: I10, I12, J21, J30


Obesity has an adverse impact not only on health but also on the labor market outcomes of individuals. Using anthropometric data and the body mass index (BMI), we analyze the effects of obesity on the decision to work and the wages of Mexican workers aged 20-60. We use children’s BMI as an instrumental variable for the BMI of their parents. Our results show that for men, BMI does not affect their decision to work or their wages. For women, however, an increase of one standard deviation in the BMI is associated with a 16% decrease in hourly wages. The findings are highly robust under different specifications.


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