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Why Does Height Matter for Educational Attainment? Evidence from German Pre-Teen Children

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  • Francesco Cinnirella

    ()

  • Marc Piopiunik

    ()

  • Joachim Winter

Abstract

Several studies have shown that body height is positively associated with educational attainment. In this paper, we investigate the mechanisms behind this relationship using data on German pre-teen students. We show that (i) taller children are more likely to enroll in ‘Gymnasium’, the most academic secondary school track, and that (ii) primary school teachers give better recommendations to taller students. This holds even when controlling for academic achievement and parental background. In addition, we present some evidence that height and social skills are positively associated already at age 2-3. Our results imply that controlling for social skills would significantly reduce estimates of the height-school premium. With respect to education policy, our findings suggest that early school tracking might increase disadvantages for students with low social skills.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2010/wp-cesifo-2010-03/cesifo1_wp2983.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2983.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2983

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Related research

Keywords: height; educational tracking; educational attainment; social skills;

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References

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  1. John Cawley & C. Katharina Spiess, 2008. "Obesity and Skill Attainment in Early Childhood," NBER Working Papers 13997, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Wößmann, 2005. "Does Educational Tracking Affect Performance and Inequality? Differences-in-Differences Evidence across Countries," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 1, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  3. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2009. "The Economics and Psychology of Inequality and Human DEvelopment," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 320-364, 04-05.
  4. Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2002. "Maintenance of and Innovation in Long-Term Panel Studies: The Case of the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP)," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 276, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  5. Hendrik Jürges & Kerstin Schneider, 2007. "What Can Go Wrong Will Go Wrong: Birthday Effects and Early Tracking in the German School System," CESifo Working Paper Series 2055, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Case, Anne & Paxson, Christina & Islam, Mahnaz, 2009. "Making sense of the labor market height premium: Evidence from the British Household Panel Survey," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 102(3), pages 174-176, March.
  7. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
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  13. Lex Borghans & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," NBER Working Papers 13810, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Strauss, J & Thomas, D, 1996. "Measurment and Mismeasurement of Social Indicators," Papers 96-15, RAND - Reprint Series.
  15. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
  16. Nicola Persico & Andrew Postlewaite & Dan Silverman, 2003. "The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height," PIER Working Paper Archive 03-036, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
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  20. Heineck, Guido, 2009. "Too tall to be smart? The relationship between height and cognitive abilities," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 78-80, October.
  21. Christian Dustmann, 2004. "Parental background, secondary school track choice, and wages," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 209-230, April.
  22. Francesco Cinnirella & Joachim Winter, 2009. "Size Matters! Body Height and Labor Market Discrimination: A Cross-European Analysis," CESifo Working Paper Series 2733, CESifo Group Munich.
  23. Doyle, Orla & Harmon, Colm P. & Heckman, James J. & Tremblay, Richard E., 2009. "Investing in early human development: Timing and economic efficiency," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-6, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Martin Schlotter, 2012. "Educational Production in Preschools and Schools - Microeconometric Evidence from Germany," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 41.
  2. Francesco Cinnirella & Joachim Winter, 2009. "Size Matters! Body Height and Labor Market Discrimination: A Cross-European Analysis," CESifo Working Paper Series 2733, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Martin Schlotter, 2011. "Age at Preschool Entrance and Noncognitive Skills before School - An Instrumental Variable Approach," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 112, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  4. Marc Piopiunik, 2011. "Microeconometric Analyses of Education Production in Germany," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 40.
  5. Marc Piopiunik, 2011. "Intergenerational Transmission of Education and Mediating Channels: Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Reforms in Germany," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 107, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  6. Martin Schlotter, 2011. "The Effect of Preschool Attendance on Secondary School Track Choice in Germany - Evidence from Siblings," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 106, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.

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