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Stature and long-term labor market outcomes: Evidence using Mendelian randomization

Author

Listed:
  • Böckerman, Petri
  • Viinikainen, Jutta
  • Vainiomäki, Jari
  • Hintsanen, Mirka
  • Pitkänen, Niina
  • Lehtimäki, Terho
  • Pehkonen, Jaakko
  • Rovio, Suvi
  • Raitakari, Olli

Abstract

We use the Young Finns Study (N=∼2000) on the measured height linked to register-based long-term labor market outcomes. The data contain six age cohorts (ages 3, 6, 9, 12, 15 and 18, in 1980) with the average age of 31.7, in 2001, and with the female share of 54.7. We find that taller people earn higher earnings according to the ordinary least squares (OLS) estimation. The OLS models show that 10cm of extra height is associated with 13% higher earnings. We use Mendelian randomization, with the genetic score as an instrumental variable (IV) for height to account for potential confounders that are related to socioeconomic background, early life conditions and parental investments, which are otherwise very difficult to fully account for when using covariates in observational studies. The IV point estimate is much lower and not statistically significant, suggesting that the OLS estimation provides an upward biased estimate for the height premium. Our results show the potential value of using genetic information to gain new insights into the determinants of long-term labor market success.

Suggested Citation

  • Böckerman, Petri & Viinikainen, Jutta & Vainiomäki, Jari & Hintsanen, Mirka & Pitkänen, Niina & Lehtimäki, Terho & Pehkonen, Jaakko & Rovio, Suvi & Raitakari, Olli, 2017. "Stature and long-term labor market outcomes: Evidence using Mendelian randomization," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 18-29.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:24:y:2017:i:c:p:18-29
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2016.10.009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Pehkonen, Jaakko & Viinikainen, Jutta & Böckerman, Petri & Lehtimäki, Terho & Pitkänen, Niina & Raitakari, Olli, 2017. "Genetic endowments, parental resources and adult health: Evidence from the Young Finns Study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 188(C), pages 191-200.
    2. Ari Hyytinen & Pekka Ilmakunnas & Edvard Johansson & Otto Toivanen, 2019. "Heritability of lifetime earnings," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 17(3), pages 319-335, September.
    3. 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.
    4. Lång, Elisabeth & Nystedt, Paul, 2018. "Two by two, inch by inch: Height as an indicator of environmental conditions during childhood and its influence on earnings over the life cycle among twins," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 53-66.
    5. Willage, Barton, 2018. "The effect of weight on mental health: New evidence using genetic IVs," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 113-130.
    6. Bittmann, Felix, 2020. "The relationship between height and leadership: Evidence from across Europe," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 36(C).
    7. Chen, Qihui, 2021. "Population policy, family size and child malnutrition in Vietnam – Testing the trade-off between child quantity and quality from a child nutrition perspective," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 41(C).
    8. Cornelius A. Rietveld & Pankaj C. Patel, 2019. "ADHD and later-life labor market outcomes in the United States," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 20(7), pages 949-967, September.
    9. Tao, Hung-Lin, 2020. "Gender-role ideology and height preference in mate selection," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C).

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