International Handbook on the Economics of Migration
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International Handbook on the Economics of Migration

Edited by Amelie F. Constant and Klaus F. Zimmermann

Migration economics is a dynamic, fast-growing research area with significant and rising policy relevance. While its scope is continually extending, there is no authoritative treatment of its various branches in one volume. Written by 44 leading experts in the field, this carefully commissioned and refereed Handbook brings together 28 state-of-the-art chapters on migration research and related issues.
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Chapter 13: Immigrants, wages and obesity: the weight of the evidence

Susan L. Averett, Laura M. Argys and Jennifer L. Kohn


The worldwide obesity epidemic has not spared even those in developing countries (World Health Organization, 2006). There is a large and growing literature on migration and health that supports the ‘healthy immigrant effect’, that is, that those who are healthier are more likely to migrate (for example, Antecol and Bedard, 2006; Park et al., 2009). There is also substantial literature on the link between obesity and labor market outcomes (for example, Averett and Korenman, 1996; Cawley, 2004). The purpose of this chapter is to explore the complex interaction among immigration, obesity and labor market outcomes. We know of only two studies that specifically examine this combined effect (Cawley et al., 2009, and Averett et al., 2012). This chapter proceeds as follows. The next section examines the healthy immigrant hypothesis. This is followed by a summary of the literature on obesity and labor market outcomes. Then, we review the two studies that bring these literatures together. The chapter concludes with a discussion of some policy implications and directions for future research.

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