Susan L. Averett

  • Current position:
    Charles A. Dana Professor of Economics, Lafayette College, USA
  • Research interest:
    Labor market consequences of obesity, economics of risky behavior, children’s cognitive development, health consequences of marriage/cohabitation
  • Website:
  • Affiliations:
    Lafayette College, USA, and IZA, Germany
  • Qualifications:
    PhD Economics, University of Colorado, 1991
  • Personal statement about IZA World of Labor:
    This project is a great way for academic experts to communicate their insights to a wide audience in an accessible manner. IZA World of Labor articles will be an essential read for policymakers and engaged citizens
  • Selected publications:
    • “Indebted and overweight: The link between BMI and household debt.” Economics and Human Biology (2014) (with J. K. Smith).
    • “Immigration, obesity and labor market outcomes in the UK." IZA Journal of Migration 1:1 (2012): 1–19 (with L. M. Argys and J. Kohn).
    • “Obesity, poverty and the ability to pay for calories." In: Jefferson, P. N. (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Poverty. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.
    • “Labor market consequences: employment, wages, disability, and absenteeism.” In: Cawley, J. (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Obesity. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011; pp. 531–552.
    • “The economic reality of the beauty myth.” Journal of Human Resources 31:2 (1996): 304–330 (with S. Korenman).
  • Articles

Obesity and labor market outcomes

The hidden private cost of obesity: Lower earnings and a lower probability of employment

May 2014

10.15185/izawol.32 32

by Susan L. Averett Averett, S

Rising obesity is not only a pressing global public health problem. There is also substantial evidence that obese people, particularly women, are less likely to be employed and, when employed, are likely to earn lower wages. There is some evidence that the lower earnings are a result of discriminatory hiring and sorting into jobs with less customer contact. Understanding whether obesity is associated with adverse labor market outcomes and ascertaining the source of these outcomes are essential for designing effective public policy.