A soft pillow for hard times: Effects of economic insecurity on body weight in transitional Russia

Recent literature has identified increasing economic insecurity as a possible explanation for globally increasing obesity rates. This study investigates the causal effect of economic insecurity on weight outcomes in transitional Russia. Using data from the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey from 1994 to 2005 I construct several cumulative measures of economic insecurity and estimate their impact on Body Mass Index and waist circumference. I apply instrumental-variables methods to control for reverse causality and unobserved heterogeneity. Results show a mixed picture with both positive and negative effects of insecurity on weight and waist circumference, depending on the economic insecurity measure. Additional regressions on subjective statements of anxiety highlight the importance of examining the pathway from objective insecurity over subjective anxiety and behavior to final health and weight outcomes in more detail.

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Conference Paper/ Presentation
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JEL Codes:
D01; C26; I14
Series Statement:
Paper #7133

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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