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Talented but lazy. The height-school premium among Cracow’s schoolboys in the interwar period

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  • Ogórek, Bartosz

Abstract

This study finds that a positive association between stature and academic performance measured by the grades for various subjects, the height-school premium, was present in a historical sample of 147 school boys attending a gymnasium (public secondary school) in Cracow, Poland, between the wars. This effect persists when controlling for a set of demographic and socio-economic variables, though the strength of the relationship is modest (0.018 higher average grade for Polish, 0.014 for mathematics, 0.016 for art, and 0.013 for the combined subjects with each centimetre of height). The differences found between the magnitude and significance of the height-premium in different school subjects could be a marker of unequal association between stature, and cognitive, social, and physical skills, suggesting at least a partial role of cognitive ability in this relationship. However, the effect visible at the school level is not consistent between different teachers of the same subjects, hence the mechanism behind the height-school premium in the analysed population to a large extent relied on the subjective judgment of the teachers, who could reward social skills but also discriminate against shorter students.

Suggested Citation

  • Ogórek, Bartosz, 2019. "Talented but lazy. The height-school premium among Cracow’s schoolboys in the interwar period," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 252-256.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:34:y:2019:i:c:p:252-256
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2018.12.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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