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The nonlinear link between height and wages in Germany, 1985-2004

  • Hübler, Olaf

Based on data of the German Socio-Economic Panel, this article investigates the relationship between height and wages by gender. Unlike previous investigations, which have been limited to an examination of linear effects, this one finds that height influences on wages are curvilinear, and more so for men than for women. More specifically, it finds that women who are shorter than average and men who are somewhat taller than average, but not among the tallest, enjoy significant wage advantages. Furthermore, using Blinder's decomposition to determine two components of wage differences, we find that these differences can be partitioned into an endowment component and unexplained influences (discrimination). There is a difference between the public and private sectors and between men and women as to the degree of the latter effect. This investigation supports the hypothesis that short and very tall men employed in the private sector are disadvantaged the most. The outcome for women is less robust than for men.

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

Volume (Year): 7 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (July)
Pages: 191-199

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:7:y:2009:i:2:p:191-199
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  17. Susan Averett & Sanders Korenman, 1996. "The Economic Reality of the Beauty Myth," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 304-330.
  18. Herpin, Nicolas, 2005. "Love, careers, and heights in France, 2001," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 420-449, December.
  19. Johansson, Edvard & Böckerman, Petri & Kiiskinen, Urpo & Heliövaara, Markku, 2009. "Obesity and labour market success in Finland: The difference between having a high BMI and being fat," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 36-45, March.
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