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Stature and Status: Height, Ability, and Labor Market Outcomes

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  • Anne Case
  • Christina Paxson

Abstract

The well-known association between height and earnings is often thought to reflect factors such as self-esteem, social dominance, and discrimination. We offer a simpler explanation: height is positively associated with cognitive ability, which is rewarded in the labor market. Using data from the United States and the United Kingdom, we show that taller children have higher average cognitive test scores and that these test scores explain a large portion of the height premium in earnings. Children who have higher test scores also experience earlier adolescent growth spurts, so that height in adolescence serves as a marker of cognitive ability. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved..

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 116 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (06)
Pages: 499-532

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:116:y:2008:i:3:p:499-532

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  1. John Strauss & Duncan Thomas, 1998. "Health, Nutrition, and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 766-817, June.
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  1. The advantage of being tall
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2008-11-10 10:11:00
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