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Height, Skills, and Labor Market Outcomes in Mexico

  • Tom Vogl
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    Taller workers are paid higher wages. A prominent explanation for this pattern is that physical growth and cognitive development share childhood inputs, inducing a correlation between adult height and two productive skills: strength and intelligence. This paper explores the relative roles of strength and intelligence in explaining the labor market height premium in Mexico. While cognitive test scores account for a limited share of the height premium, roughly half of the premium can be attributed to the educational and occupational choices of taller workers. Taller workers obtain more education and sort into occupations with greater intelligence requirements and lower strength requirements, suggesting that the height premium partly reflects a return to cognitive skill.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w18318.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18318.

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    Date of creation: Aug 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18318
    Note: CH HE LS
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    1. Mark Rosenzweig & Junsen Zhang, 2012. "Economic Growth, Comparative Advantage, and Gender Differences in Schooling Outcomes: Evidence from the Birthweight Differences of Chinese Twins," Working Papers id:4779, eSocialSciences.
    2. Wei Huang & Xiaoyan Lei & Geert Ridder & John Strauss & Yaohui Zhao, 2013. "Health, Height, Height Shrinkage, and SES at Older Ages: Evidence from China," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 86-121, April.
    3. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2006. "From the cradle to the labor market? The effect of birth weight on adult outcomes," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19425, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Christina Paxson & Norbert Schady, 2007. "Cognitive Development among Young Children in Ecuador: The Roles of Wealth, Health, and Parenting," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(1).
    5. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2006. "Stature and status: Height, ability, and labor market outcomes," Working Papers 232, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    6. Eric Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2008. "The Role of Cognitive Skills in Economic Development," Discussion Papers 07-034, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    7. Thomas, D. & Strauss, J., 1997. "Health and Wages: Evidence on Men and Women in Urban Brazil," Papers 97-05, RAND - Reprint Series.
    8. Sharon Maccini & Dean Yang, 2009. "Under the Weather: Health, Schooling, and Economic Consequences of Early-Life Rainfall," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 1006-26, June.
    9. 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.
    10. Franziska Ohnsorge & Daniel Trefler, 2007. "Sorting It Out: International Trade with Heterogeneous Workers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(5), pages 868-892, October.
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