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Imitative obesity and relative utility

Author: David G Blanchflower; Andrew J Oswald; Bert van Landeghem; National Bureau of Economic Research.
Publisher: Cambridge, MA : National Bureau of Economic Research, ©2008.
Series: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), working paper no. 14337.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
If human beings care about their relative weight, a form of imitative obesity can emerge (in which people subconsciously keep up with the weight of the Joneses). Using Eurobarometer data on 29 countries, this paper provides cross-sectional evidence that overweight perceptions and dieting are influenced by a person's relative BMI, and longitudinal evidence from the German Socioeconomic Panel that well-being is  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Print version:
Blanchflower, David G.
Imitative obesity and relative utility.
Cambridge, MA : National Bureau of Economic Research, ©2008
(OCoLC)269432481
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: David G Blanchflower; Andrew J Oswald; Bert van Landeghem; National Bureau of Economic Research.
OCLC Number: 714726508
Reproduction Notes: Electronic reproduction. [S.l.] : HathiTrust Digital Library, 2011. MiAaHDL
Description: 1 online resource (21 pages .).
Details: Master and use copy. Digital master created according to Benchmark for Faithful Digital Reproductions of Monographs and Serials, Version 1. Digital Library Federation, December 2002.
Series Title: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), working paper no. 14337.
Responsibility: David G. Blanchflower, Andrew J. Oswald, Bert Van Landeghem.

Abstract:

If human beings care about their relative weight, a form of imitative obesity can emerge (in which people subconsciously keep up with the weight of the Joneses). Using Eurobarometer data on 29 countries, this paper provides cross-sectional evidence that overweight perceptions and dieting are influenced by a person's relative BMI, and longitudinal evidence from the German Socioeconomic Panel that well-being is influenced by relative BMI. Highly educated people see themselves as fatter -- at any given actual weight -- than those with low education. These results should be treated cautiously, and fixed-effects estimates are not always well-determined, but there are grounds to take seriously the possibility of socially contagious obesity.

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