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Department of Economics, Lund University Working Papers, Department of Economics, Lund University

No 2011:12:
Productivity or discrimination? An economic analysis of excess-weight penalty in the Swedish labor market

Margareta Dackehag (), Ulf-G Gerdtham () and Martin Nordin ()

Abstract: Using longitudinal data, this paper investigates the penalty for excess weight in the Swedish labor market, distinguishing between the productivity and the discrimination hypotheses. We analyze employment, income, and sickness absence , using the latter as a direct measure of productivity. We find that excess weight women, but not men, experience a significant employment penalty. Both genders experience a significant income penalty for obesity. We conclude that the penalties are associated with lower productivity, primarily in terms of health. We find no evidence of discrimination.

Keywords: Employment; income; sickness absence; obesity; overweight; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: I10; I12; J23; J31; (follow links to similar papers)

26 pages, April 1, 2011

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