This study investigates the impact of relative body weight on the wage of full-time workers using a semiparametric partially linear model, by age cohort and gender. It defines relative body weight as relative BMI. The data mainly come from the 2004, 2006 and 2008 Panel Study of Family Dynamics of Taiwan. The results of the 2006 wave show that the wage penalty for heavy persons is more significant among women than among men, in both the main and child samples. A penalty for thin persons also appears among young women. These patterns are robust to specifications correcting for endogeneity. Substantial differences in the relative BMI-wage profile between men and women indicate that the findings are consistent with the implication of cultivation theory—society holds different body standards for men versus women. By tracking the same cohort, it finds that the differences are reduced when the males and females both get older.
Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy 25(1), p.99-123