How does obesity affect marriage prospects for men and women?

This paper looks into the impact of obesity and other factors on first entry into a marital or cohabiting union, using 1997 cohort data from the national longitudinal survey. Results show obese women are less likely to be accepted into either cohabitation or marriage, while obese men are less likely to be accepted in a cohabitating relation but are not less likely to enter into marriage. Income affects all union and all genders symmetrically, increasing the likelihood of a union. These results suggest that marriage is a special form of union for women, so they are willing to marry obese men because they value other factors related to the marriage choice, such as commitment or the prospect of having children. Men do not appear to value these factors as much, so obese women are less likely to be accepted into either cohabitation or marriage.

Source: “Do women value marriage more? The effect of obesity on cohabitation and marriage in the USA” from Review of Economics of the Household, Volume 6, Number 2 / June, 2008

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