Stature and status: Height, ability, and labor market outcomes
It has long been recognized that taller adults hold jobs of higher status and, on average, earn more than other workers. A large number of hypotheses have been put forward to explain the association between height and earnings. In developed countries, researchers have emphasized factors such as self esteem, social dominance, and discrimination. In this paper, we offer a simpler explanation: On average, taller people earn more because they are smarter. As early as age 3 — before schooling has had a chance to play a role — and throughout childhood, taller children perform significantly better on cognitive tests. The correlation between height in childhood and adulthood is approximately 0.7 for both men and women, so that tall children are much more likely to become tall adults. As adults, taller individuals are more likely to select into higher paying occupations that require more advanced verbal and numerical skills and greater intelligence, for which they earn handsome returns. Using four data sets from the US and the UK, we find that the height premium in adult earnings can be explained by childhood scores on cognitive tests. Furthermore, we show that taller adults select into occupations that have higher cognitive skill requirements and lower physical skill demands.
|Date of creation:||Aug 2006|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: 609 258-4041
Fax: 609 258-2907
Web page: http://www.irs.princeton.edu/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Strauss, J. & Thomas, D., 1995.
"Health, Nutrition and Economic development,"
95-23, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:case_paxson_stature_status_8312006. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David Long)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.