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The Height Premium in Earnings: The Role of Physical Capacity and Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills

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  • Lundborg, Petter

    () (Lund University)

  • Nystedt, Paul

    () (Linköping University)

  • Rooth, Dan-Olof

    () (Stockholm University)

Abstract

The association between stature and favorable labor market outcomes has been extensively documented. Recent studies have attributed this height premium to cognitive and social skills. We offer an alternative explanation, where the premium mainly arises from the positive association between height and physical capacity. Accounting for the latter reduces the height premium by about 80 percent. By also accounting for cognitive and non-cognitive skills, we are able to explain the entire height premium. Our estimates are based on data from the military enlistment register that has been linked to earnings for the entire population of Swedish males aged 28-38 in 2003.

Suggested Citation

  • Lundborg, Petter & Nystedt, Paul & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2009. "The Height Premium in Earnings: The Role of Physical Capacity and Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 4266, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4266
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jere R. Behrman & John Hoddinott & John A. Maluccio & Reynaldo Martorell, 2009. "Brains versus Brawn: Labor Market Returns to Intellectual and Health Human Capital in a Poor Developing Country," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0907, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
    2. Chiappori, Pierre-André & Oreffice, Sonia & Quintana-Domeque, Climent, 2009. "Fatter Attraction: Anthropometric and Socioeconomic Characteristics in the Marriage Market," IZA Discussion Papers 4594, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2011. "Work out or out of work -- The labor market return to physical fitness and leisure sports activities," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 399-409, June.
    4. 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.
    5. Quintana-Domeque, Climent & Bozzoli, Carlos & Bosch, Mariano, 2012. "The evolution of adult height across Spanish regions, 1950–1980: A new source of data," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 264-275.
    6. Pierre-André Chiappori & Sonia Oreffice & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2012. "Fatter Attraction: Anthropometric and Socioeconomic Matching on the Marriage Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(4), pages 659-695.
    7. Björklund, Anders & Jäntti, Markus & Nybom, Martin, 2012. "The Role of Parental Income over the Life Cycle: A Comparison of Sweden and the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 7066, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. World Bank Group, 2017. "Multisectoral Nutrition Assessment in Sri Lanka's Estate Sector," World Bank Other Operational Studies 26328, The World Bank.
    9. Lundborg, Petter & Nilsson, Anton & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2011. "Early Life Health and Adult Earnings: Evidence from a Large Sample of Siblings and Twins," IZA Discussion Papers 5804, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Mariano Bosch & Carlos Bozzoli & Climent Quintana, 2009. "Infant mortality, income and adult stature in Spain," Working Papers 2009-27, FEDEA.
    11. Quintana-Domeque, Climent & Bozzoli, Carlos & Bosch, Mariano, 2011. "Infant mortality and adult stature in Spain," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(11), pages 1893-1903, June.
    12. Eiji Yamamura & Yoshiro Tsutsui, 2017. "Gap of height and education within couple and its effect on conflict and evaluation about partners: psychological cost of division of labor within household," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 17-35, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. Lundborg, Petter & Nystedt, Paul & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2010. "No Country for Fat Men? Obesity, Earnings, Skills, and Health among 450,000 Swedish Men," IZA Discussion Papers 4775, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Oreffice, Sonia & Quintana-Domeque, Climent, 2010. "Anthropometry and socioeconomics among couples: Evidence in the United States," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 373-384, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    height premium; cognitive and non-cognitive skills; physical capacity; earnings;

    JEL classification:

    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • J70 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - General

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