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Marriage, BMI, and Wages: A double selection approach

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/07/2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Scottish Journal of Political Economy
Issue number3
Number of pages31
Pages (from-to)347-377
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date21/04/11
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Obesity rates have been rising over the past decade. As more people become obese, the social stigma of obesity may be reduced. Marriage has typically been used as a positive signal to employers. If obese individuals possess other characteristics that are valued in the labour market they may no longer face a wage penalty for their physical appearance. This paper investigates the relationship between marital status, body mass index (BMI), and wages by estimating a double selection model that controls for selection into the labour and marriage markets using waves 14 and 16 (2004 and 2006) of the British Household Panel Survey. Results suggest that unobserved characteristics related to marriage and labour market participation are causing an upward bias on the BMI coefficients. The BMI coefficient is positive and significant for married men only in the double selection model. The findings provide evidence that unobserved characteristics related to success in the marriage and labour market may influence the relationship between BMI and wages.