NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Height as a Proxy for Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Ability

Andreas Schick, Richard H. Steckel

NBER Working Paper No. 16570
Issued in December 2010
NBER Program(s):Development of the American Economy, Labor Studies

Taller workers receive a substantial wage premium. Studies extending back to the middle of the last century attribute the premium to non-cognitive abilities, which are associated with stature and rewarded in the labor market. More recent research argues that cognitive abilities explain the stature-wage relationship. This paper reconciles the competing views by recognizing that net nutrition, a major determinant of adult height, is integral to our cognitive and non-cognitive development. Using data from Britain's National Childhood Development Study (NCDS), we show that taller children have higher average cognitive and non-cognitive test scores, and that each aptitude accounts for a substantial and roughly equal portion of the stature premium. Together these abilities explain why taller people have higher wages.

download in pdf format
   (209 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16570

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Gregory and Ruhm w14984 Where Does the Wage Penalty Bite?
Case and Paxson w12466 Stature and Status: Height, Ability, and Labor Market Outcomes
Persico, Postlewaite, and Silverman w10522 The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height
Deaton and Arora w15090 Life at the top: the benefits of height
Heckman, Stixrud, and Urzúa w12006 The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us