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Why does height matter for educational attainment? Evidence from German children

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  • Cinnirella, Francesco
  • Piopiunik, Marc
  • Winter, Joachim

Abstract

Height is positively associated with educational attainment. We investigate the mechanisms behind this relationship using data on German pre-teen students. We show that taller children are more likely to enroll in Gymnasium, the most academic secondary school track, and that primary school teachers provide more favorable school track decisions to taller students. We find that a 1cm increase in height is associated with a 1.6 percentage points increase in the probability of attending Gymnasium. This holds even when controlling for academic achievement and parental background. In addition, we present evidence that height and social skills are positively associated already at age 2–3. We propose the association between height and noncognitive skills as a possible explanation of the height-school premium, even if discrimination cannot be ruled out entirely.

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  • Cinnirella, Francesco & Piopiunik, Marc & Winter, Joachim, 2011. "Why does height matter for educational attainment? Evidence from German children," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 407-418.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:9:y:2011:i:4:p:407-418 DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2011.04.006
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    2. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:26:y:2017:i:c:p:42-50 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Yamamura, Eiji & Smyth, Russell & Zhang, Yan, 2015. "Decomposing the effect of height on income in China: The role of market and political channels," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 62-74.
    4. Price, Gregory N., 2013. "The allometry of metabolism and stature: Worker fatigue and height in the Tanzanian labor market," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 515-521.
    5. Rietveld, Cornelius A. & Hessels, Jolanda & van der Zwan, Peter, 2015. "The stature of the self-employed and its relation with earnings and satisfaction," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 59-74.
    6. Perelman, Julian, 2014. "Are chronic diseases related to height? Results from the Portuguese National Health Interview Survey," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 56-66.
    7. Guven, Cahit & Lee, Wang-Sheng, 2015. "Height, aging and cognitive abilities across Europe," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 16-29.
    8. Bernardi, Martino & Bratti, Massimiliano & De Simone, Gianfranco, 2014. ""I wish I knew ..." - Misperceived Ability, School Track Counseling Services and Performances in Upper Secondary Education," IZA Discussion Papers 7940, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Sohn, Kitae, 2015. "The height premium in Indonesia," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 1-15.
    10. Tao, Hung-Lin, 2014. "Height, weight, and entry earnings of female graduates in Taiwan," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 85-98.
    11. Dercon, Stefan & Sánchez, Alan, 2013. "Height in mid childhood and psychosocial competencies in late childhood: Evidence from four developing countries," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 426-432.
    12. Huang, Ying & van Poppel, Frans & Lumey, L.H., 2015. "Differences in height by education among 371,105 Dutch military conscripts," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 202-207.
    13. Yamamura, Eiji & Smyth, Russell & Zhang, Yan, 2015. "Decomposing the effect of height on income in China: The role of market and political channels," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 62-74.
    14. Eiji Yamamura & Yoshiro Tsutsui, 2016. "Comparing the role of height between men and women in the marriage market," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 16-20, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
    15. Cally Ardington & Megan Little, 2016. "The Impact of Maternal Death on Children's Health and Education Outcomes," SALDRU Working Papers 184, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    16. Carrieri, Vincenzo & De Paola, Maria, 2012. "Height and subjective well-being in Italy," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 289-298.
    17. Carl‐Johan Dalgaard & Holger Strulik, 2016. "Physiology and Development: Why the West is Taller Than the Rest," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(598), pages 2292-2323, December.
    18. Hassink, Wolter & van Leeuwen, Bas, 2013. "A Note on Height and Surnames: The Role of Networks," IZA Discussion Papers 7433, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    19. Murasko, Jason E., 2013. "Physical growth and cognitive skills in early-life: Evidence from a nationally representative US birth cohort," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 267-277.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Height; Height-school premium; Educational attainment; Social skills;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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