Objective: This study contributes to the literature on the income and wealth consequences of obesity by exploiting recent discoveries about the genetic basis of BMI. Methods: The relation between a genetic risk score (GRS) for BMI, which reflects the genetic predisposition to have a higher body weight, and income and wealth was analyzed in a longitudinal data set comprising 5,962 individuals (22,490 individual-year observations) from the US Health and Retirement Study. Results: Empirical analyses showed that the GRS for BMI lowers individual income and household wealth through the channel of lower educational attainment. Sex-stratified analyses showed that this effect is particularly significant among females. Conclusions: This study provides support for the negative effects of the GRS for BMI on individual income and household wealth through lower education for females. For males, the effects are estimated to be smaller and insignificant. The larger effects for females compared with males may be due to greater labor market taste-based discrimination faced by females.

Obesity: a research journal
Department of Applied Economics

Rietveld, C.A, & Patel, P.C. (2019). Effect of the genetic propensity for obesity on income and wealth through educational attainment. Obesity: a research journal. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/119644