Size Matters! Body Height and Labor Market Discrimination: A Cross-European Analysis

35 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2009

See all articles by Francesco Cinnirella

Francesco Cinnirella

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CAGE

Joachim K. Winter

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA); Deutsche Bundesbank - Research Department

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Date Written: July 2009

Abstract

Taller workers earn on average higher salaries. Recent research has proposed cognitive abilities and social skills as explanations for the height-wage premium. Another possible mechanism, employer discrimination, has found little support. In this paper, we provide some evidence in favor of the discrimination hypothesis. Using a cross section of 13 countries, we show that there is a consistent height-wage premium across Europe and that it is largely due to occupational sorting. We show that height has a significant effect for the occupational sorting of employed workers but not for the self-employed. We interpret this result as evidence of employer discrimination in favor of taller workers. Our results are consistent with the theoretical predictions of recent models on statistical discrimination and employer learning.

Keywords: height, wage premium, discrimination, cognitive functions, occupational sorting

JEL Classification: J24, J31, J71

Suggested Citation

Cinnirella, Francesco and Winter, Joachim K., Size Matters! Body Height and Labor Market Discrimination: A Cross-European Analysis (July 2009). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 2733. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1443091

Francesco Cinnirella (Contact Author)

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics ( email )

DK-5230 Odense
Denmark

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute ( email )

Poschingerstrasse 5
Munich, 81679
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

CAGE ( email )

Premier Business Centre
47-49 Park Royal Road
London, NW10 7LQ
United Kingdom

Joachim K. Winter

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) ( email )

Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
Munich, Bavaria 80539
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) ( email )

Amalienstrasse 33
Munich, 80799
Germany

Deutsche Bundesbank - Research Department ( email )

PO Box 10 06 02
D60006 Frankfurt
Germany

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