Does Tallness Pay off in the Long Run? Height and Earnings over the Life Cycle

Elisabeth Lång, Linköping University
Paul Nystedt, Linköping University
Petter Lundborg, Lund University

We analyze how the height premium in earnings develops over the adult lifespan. Overall, the unconditional premium increases with age for men and decreases for women. For men, within twin-pair fixed effects (WTP) estimates are on average 40 percent lower than the corresponding OLS estimates. Including years of schooling as an explanatory variable induces a similar reduction of the OLS height premium, but has no effect on the WTP estimates. Hence, it seems as if schooling mediates the association between height and earnings among unrelated male individuals but not among twins. For women, the estimations are less precise, but limiting the sample to those with earnings above a threshold level mirroring a very low wage level, the estimated premiums are rather constant with age. Overall, the height premium patterns do not vary substantially between monozygotic and dizygotic twins, indicating that environmentally and genetically induced height differences affect earnings levels similarly.

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Presented in Session 153: Marriage, Gender, Schooling, and Labor Market Outcomes