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

  • Price, Gregory N.

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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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics & Human Biology.

Volume (Year): 11 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 515-521

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:11:y:2013:i:4:p:515-521
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622964

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