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Height and Leadership


  • Erik Lindqvist

    (Stockholm School of Economics and Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))


This paper studies the relationship between height and leadership. Using data from a representative sample of Swedish men, I document that tall men are significantly more likely to attain managerial positions. An increase in height by 10 centimeters (3.94 inches) is associated with a 2.2 percentage point increase in the probability of holding a managerial position. Selection into managerial positions explains about 15% of the unconditional height-wage premium. However, about half of the height-leadership correlation is due to a positive correlation between height and cognitive and noncognitive ability. © 2012 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Erik Lindqvist, 2012. "Height and Leadership," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 1191-1196, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:94:y:2012:i:4:p:1191-1196

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Grönqvist, Erik & Vlachos, Jonas, 2008. "One size fits all? The effects of teacher cognitive and non-cognitive abilities on student achievement," Working Paper Series 2008:25, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    2. Petri Böckerman & Edvard Johansson & Urpo Kiiskinen & Markku Heilövaara, 2010. "Does Physical Capacity Explain the Height Premium?," Working Papers 1074, University of Tampere, School of Management, Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Olivier Bargain & Jinan Zeidan, 2014. "Stature, Skills and Adult Life Outcomes: Evidence from Indonesia," AMSE Working Papers 1429, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised 07 Jul 2014.
    2. Mark E. McGovern & Aditi Krishna & Victor M. Aguayo & S.V. Subramanian, 2017. "A Review of the Evidence Linking Child Stunting to Economic Outcomes," CHaRMS Working Papers 17-03, Centre for HeAlth Research at the Management School (CHaRMS).
    3. Price, Gregory N., 2013. "The allometry of metabolism and stature: Worker fatigue and height in the Tanzanian labor market," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 515-521.
    4. 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, vol. 17(C), pages 59-74.
    5. Cornelius A. Rietveld & Jolanda Hessels & Peter van der Zwan, 2014. "The Stature of the Self-employed and its Premium," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-109/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
    6. Böckerman, Petri & Vainiomäki, Jari, 2013. "Stature and life-time labor market outcomes: Accounting for unobserved differences," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 86-96.
    7. Tao, Hung-Lin, 2014. "Height, weight, and entry earnings of female graduates in Taiwan," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 85-98.
    8. Dohmen, Thomas, 2014. "Behavioral labor economics: Advances and future directions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 71-85.
    9. Limbach, Peter & Sonnenburg, Florian, 2014. "CEO fitness and firm value," CFR Working Papers 14-12 [rev.], University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
    10. Erik Grönqvist & Erik Lindqvist, 2016. "The Making of a Manager: Evidence from Military Officer Training," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(4), pages 869-898.
    11. Dechter, Evgenia Kogan, 2015. "Physical appearance and earnings, hair color matters," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 15-26.
    12. Böckerman, Petri & Johansson, Edvard & Kiiskinen, Urpo & Heliövaara, Markku, 2010. "The relationship between physical work and the height premium: Finnish evidence," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 414-420, December.
    13. Keluoharju, Matti & Knüpfer, Samuli & Tåg, Joacim, 2016. "What Prevents Female Executives from Reaching the Top?," Working Paper Series 1111, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 01 Sep 2017.
    14. Maria Laura Alzua & Juan Camilo Cardenas & Habiba Djebbari, 2014. "Community mobilization around social dilemmas: evidence from lab experiments in rural Mali," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0160, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    15. Keloharju, Matti & Knüpfer, Samuli, 2014. "Are CEOs Born Leaders? Lessons from Traits of a Million Individuals," Working Paper Series 1024, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 16 Apr 2015.

    More about this item


    height; beauty; leadership; managerial positions; discrimination;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J70 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - General


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