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Does Size Matter in Australia?

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  • MICHAEL KORTT
  • ANDREW LEIGH

Abstract

We estimate the relationship between hourly wages and two aspects of body size: height and body mass index (BMI). We observe a height premium, with an additional 10 cm of height being associated with a 3 per cent increase in hourly wages for men. However, workers with higher BMI scores do not seem to earn lower wages. These results are largely unaffected by controlling for physical health, or (in the case of BMI) instrumenting with the BMI of biological family members. A survey of previous instrumental variables studies shows little indication of systematic biases, suggesting that OLS may provide a reasonable estimate of the causal impact of BMI on wages.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Kortt & Andrew Leigh, 2010. "Does Size Matter in Australia?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 86(272), pages 71-83, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecorec:v:86:y:2010:i:272:p:71-83
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4932.2009.00566.x
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    2. Price, Gregory N., 2013. "The allometry of metabolism and stature: Worker fatigue and height in the Tanzanian labor market," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 515-521.
    3. 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.
    4. Donal O’Neill & Olive Sweetman, 2013. "The consequences of measurement error when estimating the impact of obesity on income," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-20, December.
    5. Tao, Hung-Lin, 2014. "Height, weight, and entry earnings of female graduates in Taiwan," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 85-98.
    6. O'Neill, Donal & Sweetman, Olive, 2012. "The Consequences of Measurement Error when Estimating the Impact of BMI on Labour Market Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 7008, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Yamamura, Eiji & Smyth, Russell & Zhang, Yan, 2015. "Decomposing the effect of height on income in China: The role of market and political channels," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 62-74.
    8. Susan Averett & Laura Argys & Jennifer Kohn, 2012. "Immigration, obesity and labor market outcomes in the UK," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 1(1), pages 1-19, December.
    9. Howard Bodenhorn & Carolyn Moehling & Gregory N. Price, 2012. "Short Criminals: Stature and Crime in Early America," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(2), pages 393-419.
    10. Nuñez, Roy, 2020. "Obesity and labor market in Peru," MPRA Paper 105621, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Jun Wang & Qihui Chen & Gang Chen & Yingxiang Li & Guoshu Kong & Chen Zhu, 2020. "What is creating the height premium? New evidence from a Mendelian randomization analysis in China," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(4), pages 1-20, April.
    12. Chu, Filmer & Ohinmaa, Arto, 2016. "The obesity penalty in the labor market using longitudinal Canadian data," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 10-17.
    13. Böckerman, Petri & Johansson, Edvard & Kiiskinen, Urpo & Heliövaara, Markku, 2010. "The relationship between physical work and the height premium: Finnish evidence," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 414-420, December.
    14. Susan L. Averett & Laura M. Argys & Jennifer L. Kohn, 2013. "Immigrants, wages and obesity: the weight of the evidence," Chapters, in: Amelie F. Constant & Klaus F. Zimmermann (ed.), International Handbook on the Economics of Migration, chapter 13, pages 242-256, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    15. Raymundo M. Campos-Vazquez & Roy Nuñez, 2019. "Obesity and labor market outcomes in Mexico/Obesidad y el mercado de trabajo en México," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 34(2), pages 159-196.
    16. Lee, Wang-Sheng, 2014. "Big and Tall: Is there a Height Premium or Obesity Penalty in the Labor Market?," IZA Discussion Papers 8606, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Manfredini, Matteo & Breschi, Marco & Fornasin, Alessio & Seghieri, Chiara, 2013. "Height, socioeconomic status and marriage in Italy around 1900," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 465-473.

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