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Source: Washington University - St. Louis, Economics Department
Resulting in 2 citations.
1. Courtemanche, Charles
Working Yourself to Death? The Relationship Between Work Hours and Obesity
Working Paper, Department of Economics, Washington University - St. Louis, March 19, 2007
Cohort(s): Children of the NLSY79, NLSY79
Publisher: Department of Economics, Washington University - St. Louis
Keyword(s): Body Mass Index (BMI); Child Health; Maternal Employment; Obesity; Weight; Work Hours

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

I attempt to determine if the rise in labor force participation in the U.S. in the past half-century may have contributed to the nation’s growing obesity rate by examining the relationship between work hours and body weight. A causal relationship is possible since increased work hours may reduce exercise and cause substitution from meals prepared at home to fast food and pre-prepared processed food. Additional work by adults may also affect child weight by reducing parental supervision.

Using panel data obtained from the 1979 cohort of the NLSY and the NLSY Child Supplement, I examine the effects of a change in adults' work hours on their own weight and that of their spouses and children. I find that a rise in work hours increases one’s weight and, to a lesser extent, the weight of one’s spouse. Mothers' ’but not fathers’' work hours affect the weight of children and adolescents. I estimate that changes in employment patterns account for 6% of the rise in adult obesity between 1961 and 2004 and 10% of the increase in overweight children from 1968 to 2001.

Bibliography Citation
Courtemanche, Charles. "Working Yourself to Death? The Relationship Between Work Hours and Obesity." Working Paper, Department of Economics, Washington University - St. Louis, March 19, 2007.
2. Marks, Mindy Sue
In Sickness and in Health: Unintended Consequences in the American Health Insurance System
Ph.D. Dissertation, Washington University, 2004. DAI-A 65/07, p. 2693, January 2005.
Also: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdlink?did=775170341&Fmt=7&clientId=3959&RQT=309&VName=PQD
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: Department of Economics, Washington University - St. Louis
Keyword(s): Age at First Marriage; Health/Health Status/SF-12 Scale; Modeling

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

Chapter one of the dissertation provides background on America's complicated health care system where eligibility for subsidized health insurance depends on employment, spouses' employment, employer characteristics, family income and family structure. The idiosyncratic nature of the health care system almost guarantees that unintended consequences will arise from the interactions between individual choices, health insurance availability and government intervention. This chapter addresses some of these unintended consequences, while chapters two and three provide case studies.

Chapter two examines whether health and access to health insurance impact the decisions to marry and divorce. I argue that individuals in ill health face difficulties on the marriage market. Furthermore, since sickness during marriage is an unanticipated shock that reduces the size of the marriage surplus, sickness should contribute to divorce. Finally, I investigate if access to subsidized health insurance through marriage affects the probability of divorce. Proportional hazard models estimated on panel data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth indicate that ill health increases the time until first marriage. Furthermore, illnesses that were present at the time of marriage have no impact on divorce but health shocks that occur during the marriage increase the propensity to divorce for nonblack men. When the source of health insurance is added to the analysis it appears that sick women remain married to keep health insurance from their spouse's employer and are more likely to divorce when doing so would enable them to qualify for Medicaid.

Chapter three investigates the relationship between the minimum wage, employer-provided health insurance and part-time labor. I argue that minimum wages prevent the tradeoff of wages for benefits and result in lower rates of subsidized employer-provided health insurance. Additionally, increasing the minimum wages creates an incentive to hire more part-time workers who can be excluded from the firm's health insurance plan. The essay uses the 1988-1993 Current Population Surveys and exploits cross-state and federal variation in minimum wages. I find that higher minimum wages reduce the receipt of employer-provided health insurance, particularly for low-income workers. Furthermore firms, governed by the nondiscrimination law, switch to part-time workers who can be denied health insurance.

Bibliography Citation
Marks, Mindy Sue. In Sickness and in Health: Unintended Consequences in the American Health Insurance System. Ph.D. Dissertation, Washington University, 2004. DAI-A 65/07, p. 2693, January 2005..