Critical Finance Review > Vol 6 > Issue 1

Obesity and Household Financial Distress

Katherine Guthrie, Mason School of Business, College of William and Mary, USA, , Jan Sokolowsky, Society for Financial Studies, USA,
Suggested Citation
Katherine Guthrie and Jan Sokolowsky (2017), "Obesity and Household Financial Distress", Critical Finance Review: Vol. 6: No. 1, pp 133-178.

Publication Date: 27 Mar 2017
© 2017 K. Guthrie, and J. Sokolowsky
Consumer creditCredit riskDelinquencyFinancial distressHousehold financeObesity


Download article
In this article:
1. Motivation 
2. Data & Methodology 
3. Obesity is a Delinquency Risk Factor 
4. What Are the Mechanisms Through Which Obesity Affects Delinquencies? 
5. Conclusion and Discussion 
6. The Distribution of Stock Ownership by Institutional Characteristics 


Obesity provides a potentially informative signal about individuals’ choices and preferences. Using National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) data, we estimate that debt delinquency is 20 percent higher among the obese than the non-obese after controlling for an extensive set of financial and economic credit risk factors. The economic significance of obesity for delinquencies is comparable to that of job displacements. Obesity is particularly informative about delinquencies among those with low credit risk. In terms of channels, we find that the conditional obesity effect is partially mediated through health, but is not attributable to individuals’ attitudes, time and risk preferences, or cognitive skills.