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The Wage Effect of Fat

Just in time for the holidays, the economists Roy Wada and Erdal Tekin have a new NBER working paper they’ve tactfully named “Body Composition and Wages.” It contains bad news for those planning to overindulge. The abstract reads, in part:

Our results indicate that increased body fat is unambiguously associated with decreased wages for both males and females. This result is in contrast to the mixed and sometimes inconsistent results from the previous research using body mass index (BMI). We also find new evidence indicating that a higher level of fat-free body mass is consistently associated with increased hourly wages. We present further evidence that these results are not the artifacts of unobserved heterogeneity.