Subscribe: European Sociological Review - Advance Access
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European Sociological Review Advance Access

Published: Mon, 23 Apr 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Last Build Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2018 07:44:27 GMT


The Weight Wage Penalty: A Mechanism Approach to Discrimination

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 00:00:00 GMT

The wage weight penalty is a well-established finding in the literature, but not much is known about the mechanisms that bring this phenomenon about. This article aims to provide answers to the question of why overweight and obese people earn less. Using the data of the German Socio-Economic Panel, we conduct three theory-driven litmus tests for mechanisms that explain the weight wage gap: human capital differences, discrimination due to asymmetric information, or taste-based discrimination. Due to conflicting predictions from the three theories, interaction effects between weight and structural conditions serve as the key identification strategy. Results show that for men, productivity-related variables (e.g. education, work experience, occupation, and physical health) almost completely explain the weight-specific variance in wages. In contrast, for women, neither performance nor a lack of information can solve the puzzle of weight-based differences in wages. We therefore conclude that—at least in Germany—overweight and obese women suffer from taste-based discrimination, whereas overweight and obese men earn less due to human capital differences.

How Popular Are Social Investment Policies Really? Evidence from a Survey Experiment in Eight Western European Countries

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 00:00:00 GMT

The concept of the social investment welfare state has received a lot of attention and support both from academics and policymakers. It is therefore commonly assumed that policies such as investing in education or family services would also receive significant support from the mass public. While there are some indications of this, existing comparative surveys of public opinion usually do not take into account how citizens perceive and react to policy trade-offs, i.e. how they respond when forced to prioritize between different types of social policies, which is more realistic given budget constraints. This article presents original data from a representative survey of public opinion in eight Western European countries, studying how support for social investment policies changes when additional spending on these policies would have to be financed with cutbacks in other parts of the welfare state. The central findings are that citizens generally dislike being forced to cut back one type of social spending to expand another, but there is a significant degree of variation across individuals and policy fields. Material self-interest and ideological predispositions as well as their interaction help understanding differences in the acceptance of these trade-offs. The findings have important implications for the political viability of social investment policies. Political parties aiming to expand social investment in a context of fiscal austerity are confronted with different and distinct electoral constraints and challenges given the respective preferences of their electorates.