METU Department of Economics Seminar Series (Dec 26th)
MIDDLE EAST TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY
Department of Economics Seminar Series
"Causal Effect of Obesity on the Probability of Employment in Women in Turkey"
Date: December 26, 2022 (Monday)
Synchronous Online Seminar
Meeting ID: 962 6861 4522
Worldwide obesity among adults rose from 4.7% in 1975 to 13.1% in 2016 based on WHO (World Health Organization) statistics. Moreover, obesity prevalence in women has been higher than that of men and is rising not only in Turkey but also worldwide. 24.8% of females in Turkey were obese as of 2019. Obesity increases the risk of serious health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, some cancers and depression, all of which raise healthcare costs. In addition to these effects, obesity has been associated with negative labor market outcomes for mainly two reasons: (i) productivity loss due to obesity and its associated negative health outcomes and (ii) discrimination and social stigmatization. This study aims to investigate the causal effect of obesity on the employment probability of women in Turkey. This is the first study, to the author(s)’ knowledge, taking into account the endogeneity of obesity when examining its effect on the labor market in Turkey. Bivariate probit models of obesity and employment are estimated by utilizing instruments for the obesity status. Obesity prevalence in the area of living and the overweight/obesity status of the child, which are the most common types of instruments seen in the literature, are used as instruments. Results indicate that obese women are statistically significantly less likely to be employed. In addition, obesity in women decreases the likelihood of employment in the services sector and full-time jobs and employment with social security. Although the results of this study do not indicate the source of the effect found, the presence of a causal relationship for women should not be ignored when the economic burden of obesity for Turkey is considered.