Making Sense of the Labor Market Height Premium: Evidence From the British Household Panel Survey

Anne Case, Christina Paxson, Mahnaz Islam

NBER Working Paper No. 14007
Issued in May 2008
NBER Program(s):Aging, Children, Labor Studies

We use nine waves of the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) to investigate the large labor market height premium observed in the BHPS, where each inch of height is associated with a 1.5 percent increase in wages, for both men and women. We find that half of the premium can be explained by the association between height and educational attainment among BHPS participants. Of the remaining premium, half can be explained by taller individuals selecting into higher status occupations and industries. These effects are consistent with our earlier findings that taller individuals on average have greater cognitive function, which manifests in greater educational attainment, and better labor market opportunities.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14007

Published: Case, Anne & Paxson, Christina & Islam, Mahnaz, 2009. "Making sense of the labor market height premium: Evidence from the British Household Panel Survey," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 102(3), pages 174-176, March. citation courtesy of

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