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The allometry of metabolism and stature: Worker fatigue and height in the Tanzanian labor market

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  • Price, Gregory N.

Abstract

If the positive wage–height correlation is at least partially biological in origin, one plausible pathway is the effect of stature on energy expenditure in individuals. If metabolism scales proportionately with stature, then relative to short individuals, taller individuals can produce more energy for a given work task. This also suggests that end-of-the-workday fatigue, or lack of energy, varies inversely with stature. We test this hypothesis with data from the 2004 Tanzanian Household Worker Survey in which workers report the extent of their fatigue at the end-of-the-workday. Ordinal latent variable parameter estimates reveal that relative to short workers, taller workers are less likely to report being tired at the end-of-the-workday. This suggests that the positive wage–height relationship also has a biological foundation whereby the energy requirements and metabolic costs associated with work effort/tasks are inversely related to stature.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:11:y:2013:i:4:p:515-521
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2013.07.003
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    JEL classification:

    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa

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