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The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height

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Author Info

  • Nicola Persico

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Andrew Postlewaite

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Dan Silverman

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

Abstract

Taller workers receive a wage premium, and the disparity in wages is similar in magnitude to the race and gender gaps. We exploit the variation in an individual’s height over time to explore the ways in which height affects wages. Specifically, we show that for white males the effect of adult height is essentially eliminated when adolescent height is taken into account. We find that participation in high school sports and clubs, and to a lesser extent schooling, are channels through which teen height affects adult wages. The benefits of being a taller teen seem to accrue equally across income classes and also across broad occupation categories, suggesting that the benefits of teen height do not result from occupational sorting. Because height is heritable and because tall adults tend to have children with each other, the benefits of teen height tend to be perpetuated across generations. Finally, we use our estimates of the teen height premium to perform a simple calculation of the monetary benefits of a newly approved treatment for children that increases height.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PIER Working Paper Archive with number 03-036.

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Length: 71 pages
Date of creation: 03 Dec 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:03-036

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Keywords: Confidence; Optimism; Behavioral Economics;

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  1. Derek A. Neal & William R. Johnson, 1995. "The Role of Pre-Market Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," NBER Working Papers 5124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Susan Averett & Sanders Korenman, 1996. "The Economic Reality of the Beauty Myth," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 304-330.
  3. 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.
  4. James J. Heckman, 2000. "Policies to Foster Human Capital," JCPR Working Papers 154, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  5. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994. "Beauty and the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1174-94, December.
  6. Anne Case & Angela Fertig & Christina Paxson, 2003. "From Cradle to Grave? The Lasting Impact of Childhood Health and Circumstance," NBER Working Papers 9788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Hansen, Karsten T. & Heckman, James J. & Mullen, Kathleen, 2003. "The Effect of Schooling and Ability on Achievement Test Scores," IZA Discussion Papers 826, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Andrea MORO & Peter NORMAN, 2003. "Empirical Implications of Statistical Discrimination on the Returns to Measures of Skill," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 71-72, pages 399-417.
  9. John M. Barron & Bradley T. Ewing & Glen R. Waddell, 2000. "The Effects Of High School Athletic Participation On Education And Labor Market Outcomes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 409-421, August.
  10. John Cawley & Karen Conneely & James Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 1996. "Cognitive Ability, Wages, and Meritocracy," NBER Working Papers 5645, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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