Home > Research . Search . Country . Browse . Small Grants

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Thompson casts doubt on the rehabilitative intentions of prison labor

Inglehart says European social democracy is a victim of its own success

Bound, Khanna, and Morales find multiple effects of H1-B visas on US tech industry

More News

Highlights

Heather Ann Thompson wins Bancroft Prize for History for 'Blood in the Water'

Michigan ranks in USN&WR top-10 grad schools for sociology, public health, labor economics, social policy, social psychology

Paula Lantz to speak at Women in Health Leadership Summit, March 24, 2:30-5:30 Michigan League

New site highlights research, data, and publications of Relationship Dynamics and Social Life study

More Highlights

Next Brown Bag

Mon, March 20, 2017, noon:
Dean Yang, Taken by Storm

Melvin Stephens, Jr photo

Nutrition, Wages, and Retirement

a PSC Research Project

Investigator:   Melvin Stephens

Economists and policymakers remain uncertain about the financial preparedness of the baby boomers entering retirement. Concomitantly, recent increases in the percent of overweight and obese adults suggest that these factors, known to impact employment and wages, may have important implications for their transition into retirement.

Although the literatures on retirement savings adequacy and obesity do not overlap, food intake plays a fundamental role in both of these areas. While decreases in expenditures at retirement are seen as evidence of a lack of retirement preparation, an influential recent paper using cross-sectional data from the early 1990s finds that food intake remains unchanged at retirement. The importance of food intake as a determinant of BMI, however, has not been directly exploited in the literature studying the causal effect of obesity on employment and wages.

This project aims to expand on the role of food intake in both of these literatures. Specifically we will (1) use a number of cross-sectional food intake studies spanning 1977 to 2010 to examine whether the lack of an impact of retirement on food intake is also found throughout these four decades; (2) examine this same effect using a number of longitudinal studies containing food intake data to account for unobserved heterogeneity (which can be problematic for cross-sectional studies); and (3) exploit the large-scale experimental manipulation of diets found in a subset of the longitudinal studies to examine the impact of BMI on employment, wages, and retirement decisions.

This study makes a substantial contribution to two important policy areas. First, by both expanding the number of years available cross-sectional data and, especially, adding longitudinal data on food intake, this project will provide vastly improved estimates of the impact of retirement on food intake and greatly further our understanding of retirement savings adequacy. Second, by using true experimental variation to examine the impact of BMI on employment, wages, and the timing of retirement, this study will significantly improve our understanding of the role of BMI on labor market outcomes.

Funding Period: 09/30/2013 to 12/31/2015

Search . Browse