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Height, Skills, and Labor Market Outcomes in Mexico

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  • Tom Vogl
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    Abstract

    Taller workers are paid higher wages. A prominent explanation for this pattern is that physical growth and cognitive development share childhood inputs, inducing a correlation between adult height and two productive skills: strength and intelligence. This paper explores the relative roles of strength and intelligence in explaining the labor market height premium in Mexico. While cognitive test scores account for a limited share of the height premium, roughly half of the premium can be attributed to the educational and occupational choices of taller workers. Taller workers obtain more education and sort into occupations with greater intelligence requirements and lower strength requirements, suggesting that the height premium partly reflects a return to cognitive skill.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18318.

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    Date of creation: Aug 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18318

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    1. Paxson, Christina & Schady, Norbert, 2005. "Cognitive development among young children in Ecuador : the roles of wealth, health and parenting," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3605, The World Bank.
    2. Hanushek, Eric A. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2008. "The role of cognitive skills in economic development," Munich Reprints in Economics 20454, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    3. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell Salvanes, 2005. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 11796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2006. "Stature and Status: Height, Ability, and Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 12466, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Franziska Ohnsorge & Daniel Trefler, 2007. "Sorting It Out: International Trade with Heterogeneous Workers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(5), pages 868-892, October.
    6. Huang, Wei & Lei, Xiaoyan & Ridder, Geert & Strauss, John & Zhao, Yaohui, 2012. "Health, Height, Height Shrinkage and SES at Older Ages: Evidence from China," IZA Discussion Papers 6489, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Zhang, Junsen, 2013. "Economic growth, comparative advantage, and gender differences in schooling outcomes: Evidence from the birthweight differences of Chinese twins," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 245-260.
    8. Thomas, D. & Strauss, J., 1997. "Health and Wages: Evidence on Men and Women in Urban Brazil," Papers 97-05, RAND - Reprint Series.
    9. Sharon L. Maccini & Dean Yang, 2008. "Under the Weather: Health, Schooling, and Economic Consequences of Early-Life Rainfall," NBER Working Papers 14031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:
    1. Sonia R Bhalotra & Atheendar S Venkataramani, 2013. "Cognitive Development and Infectious Disease: Gender Difference in Investments and Outcomes," Economics Discussion Papers 745, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
    2. Böckerman, Petri & Vainiomäki, Jari, 2013. "Stature and life-time labor market outcomes: Accounting for unobserved differences," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 86-96.

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