Health, Wealth and Wages of Men and Women in Urban Brazil

by Duncan Thomas, John Strauss

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Survey data indicate that different dimensions of health affect the wages of men and women in urban Brazil. Height has a large and significant effect on wages: taller men and women earn more. Body mass index (BMI) is associated with higher wages of males, especially among the less educated, suggesting that strength may be rewarded with higher wages. Low levels of per-capita calorie and protein intakes reduce wages of marketworkers, but not of the self-employed. After controlling for height, BMI, and calories, the influence of proteins is greater at higher levels, presumably reflecting the impact of higher quality diets.

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