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

49 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2009

See all articles by Petter Lundborg

Petter Lundborg

Lund University School of Economics and Management; Tinbergen Institute; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Paul Nystedt

Linkoping University

Dan-Olof Rooth

University of Kalmar; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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.

Keywords: earnings, height premium, cognitive and non-cognitive skills, physical capacity

JEL Classification: J10, J70

Suggested Citation

Lundborg, Petter and Nystedt, Bjorn Paul Fredrik and Rooth, Dan-Olof, The Height Premium in Earnings: The Role of Physical Capacity and Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4266, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1434580

Petter Lundborg (Contact Author)

Lund University School of Economics and Management ( email )

P.O Box 7080
Lund
Sweden

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Bjorn Paul Fredrik Nystedt

Linkoping University

Överstegatan 30
Linkoping, 581 83
Sweden

Dan-Olof Rooth

University of Kalmar ( email )

Sweden

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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