The effect of weight on labor market outcomes : An application of genetic instrumental variables
Böckerman, P., Cawley, J., Viinikainen, J., Lehtimäki, T., Rovio, S., Seppälä, I., Pehkonen, J., & Raitakari, O. (2019). The effect of weight on labor market outcomes : An application of genetic instrumental variables. Health Economics, 28(1), 65-77. https://doi.org/10.1002/hec.3828
Published inHealth Economics
© 2018 The Authors.
This paper contributes to the literature on the labor market consequences of obesity by using a novel instrument: genetic risk score, which reflects the predisposition to higher body mass index (BMI) across many genetic loci. We estimate instrumental variable models of the effect of BMI on labor market outcomes using Finnish data that have many strengths, for example, BMI that is measured rather than self‐reported, and data on earnings and social income transfers that are from administrative tax records and are thus free of the problems associated with nonresponse, reporting error or top coding. The empirical results are sensitive to whether we use a narrower or broader genetic risk score, and to model specification. For example, models using the narrower genetic risk score as an instrument imply that a one‐unit increase in BMI is associated with 6.9% lower wages, 1.8% fewer years employed, and a 3 percentage point higher probability of receiving any social income transfers. However, when we use a newer, broader genetic risk score, we cannot reject the null hypothesis of no effect. Future research using genetic risk scores should examine the sensitivity of their results to the risk score used. ...
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- Kauppakorkeakoulu 
Related funder(s)Academy of Finland
Funding program(s)Strategic research programmes, AoF
Additional information about fundingThe Young Finns Study has been financially supported by the Academy of Finland: Grants 286284, 134309 (Eye), 126925, 121584, 124282, 129378 (Salve), 117787 (Gendi), and 41071 (Skidi); the Social Insurance Institution of Finland; Competitive State Research Financing of the Expert Responsibility area of Kuopio, Tampere and Turku University Hospitals (Grant X51001); Juho Vainio Foundation; Paavo Nurmi Foundation; Finnish Foundation for Cardiovascular Research; Finnish Cultural Foundation; Tampere Tuberculosis Foundation; Emil Aaltonen Foundation; Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation; Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation; Diabetes Research Foundation of Finnish Diabetes Association; and EU Horizon 2020 (Grant 755320 for TAXINOMISIS). The use of linked data is supported by the Palkansaaja Foundation. Jutta Viinikainen and Jaakko Pehkonen acknowledge the financial support from the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation (Grants 6646 and 6664). Viinikainen also thanks OP Group Research Foundation for financial support. Petri Böckerman thanks the Strategic Research Council funding for the project Work, Inequality, and Public Policy (293120). John Cawley thanks the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for an Investigator Award in Health Policy Research. We thank Barton Willage for research assistance. Finally, we also thank two anonymous reviewers, the seminar participants at the EALE, IIPF 2018, Oulu Business School, and the VATT seminar and Jani‐Petri Laamanen for helpful comments. ...
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