Abstract: Yanhong Jin estimates the impact of childhood obesity on intergenerational income and social mobility in the US. Utilizing the polygenic scores of Add Health participants, she proposes a novel instrument variable for childhood obesity based on genetic information related to weight status. Dr. Jin finds strong evidence that childhood obesity lowers intergenerational income and social mobility of adult children. She examines the mechanisms that help explain the effects of childhood obesity on mobility and demonstrates that childhood obesity negatively affects adulthood income, health, education outcomes, and job opportunities. Her results suggest that policies for preventing and reducing childhood obesity may have far-reaching benefits by improving socioeconomic mobility and equality. The study also reinforces the validity of using genetic information to identify and quantify causality in economics.
Bio: Yanhong Jin is a professor in the department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Jin received her Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 2004. Jin’s current research interests include: agricultural economics, health economics and policy, food economics, technology adoption and impacts, and development economics.