Does Being Fat Make You Poor?

It is often asserted that obesity is associated with all kinds of bad outcomes, one of which is lower wages.  There had been several studies (such as this one) finding such a correlation.  I even mentioned the obesity-wage-penalty in The Food Police  when asking whether obesity is a private or a government matter (a wage penalty would suggest yet another personal, private reason why one would worry about their own weight).

However, a new research paper suggests the wage-penalty story may be wrong, or at at least misinterpreted.  Here's the abstract:

Women's wages and employment probabilities do not follow a linear relationship and are highest at a body weight that is far below the clinical threshold of obesity. This indicates that looks, not health, is the driving force behind the adverse labor market outcomes that overweight women are subject to. Further support is lent to this notion by the fact that wage penalties for overweight and obese women are only observable in white-collar occupations. For men, on the other hand, bigger appears to be better.

In short, heavier women in white collar jobs earn less than thin women in white collar jobs, but it is mainly a "beauty premium"  rather than an "obesity discount."  Men, apparently, can eat what they want without fear of reduced wages.