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Stature, Skills and Adult Life Outcomes: Evidence from Indonesia

  • Olivier Bargain

    ()

    (AMSE - Aix-Marseille School of Economics - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) - Ecole Centrale Marseille (ECM) - AMU - Aix-Marseille Université, IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor)

  • Jinan Zeidan

    (AMSE - Aix-Marseille School of Economics - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) - Ecole Centrale Marseille (ECM) - AMU - Aix-Marseille Université)

We investigate the effect of height on earnings, occupational choices and a subjective measure of well-being among Indonesian men. We explore the extent to which height captures the effects of human capital endowments set before entry on the labor market. Cognitive skills, co-determined with stature early in life, do not explain much of the height earnings premium directly. Yet, human capital more broadly, including cognition, educational attainment and other factors related to parental investments and background characteristics, explains around half of the height premium and does so through occupational sorting. Indeed, taller workers tend to have more education, and educated workers tend to work in more lucrative occupations that require brain and social skills, not brawn. The unexplained share of the height earnings premium reflects other labor market advantages of taller workers, including psycho-social dimensions. We also find a height premium in happiness, half of which simply accounts for the educational and earnings advantages of taller workers.

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Date of creation: Jul 2014
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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-01020788
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