When It Comes To Salary, Thin Women Win

Thin women make more money.

Weight has a positive effect on men’s salary until they’re obese:

Cultivation theory suggests that society holds very different body standards for men versus women, and research indicates that the consequences of defying these social norms may not be linear. To test these notions in the employment context, we examined the relationship between weight and income and the degree to which the relationship varies by gender. For women, we theorized a negative weight–income relationship that is steepest at the thin end of the distribution. For men, we predicted a positive weight–income relationship until obesity, where it becomes negative. To test these hypotheses, we utilized 2 longitudinal studies, 1 German and 1 American. In Study 1, weight was measured over 2 time periods, and earnings were averaged over the subsequent 5 years. Study 2 was a multilevel study in which weight and earnings were within-individual variables observed over time, and gender was a between-individual variable. Results from the 2 studies generally support the hypotheses, even when examining within-individual changes in weight over time.

Source: “When it comes to pay, do the thin win? The effect of weight on pay for men and women.” from Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 96(1), Jan 2011, 95-112.

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