Economics Seminar Series

Michael Baker, University of Toronto

The Tall and the Short of the Returns to Height

Michael Baker.

Dr Michael Baker

Abstract:  We document that the returns to height in many socioeconomic outcomes in the US are significantly non linear at mean height, especially for males. For example, males one to three inches taller than mean height (70”) have effectively the same rates of college completion as males of mean height, while those one to three inches shorter have rates that are at least 5 percentage points (at least 15 percent) lower. Socio-economic outcomes within the lower third of the height distribution are comparable to those in the African American and Hispanic populations. We trace this non linearity back to the height profiles of cognitive skills and some non cognitive skills in the teenage years. Data from the UK indicates a nascent non linear adult height profile in age 7 reading and math scores. The strong heritability of height poses a challenge to separating biological and environmental factors.

Friday, November 30, 2018
3:30pm – 5:00pm
Fronczak 444