Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #585

Spillover Effects of Local Human Capital Stock on Adult Obesity – Evidence from German Neighborhoods

by Rui Dang

RGS, RWI, 11/2015, 53 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-679-6 DOI: 10.4419/86788679

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Abstract

This paper is the first to estimate the causal effect of local human capital stock on individual adiposity and adds to the existing literature on estimating human capital externalities at the neighborhood level. We explore the possible causal pathways that college-educated neighbors exert on individual body weight, with the results revealing small yet significant human capital spillover effects. Among all adults, a percentage point increase in the neighborhood college graduates share results in a decrease of individual body mass index by 0.0026 log points, as well as a decrease of the individual likelihood of being overweight by 0.77 percentage points. Among high school graduates and college graduates, a percentage point increase in the neighborhood college graduates share results in a decrease of individual likelihood of being overweight by approximately 0.83 percentage points.

JEL-Classification: I00, R23

Keywords: Obesity; local human capital externalities; control function; non-random sorting

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