Height premium for job performance

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Abstract

This study assessed the relationship of height with wages, using the 1998 and 2012 Korean Labor and Income Panel Study data. The key independent variable was height measured in centimeters, which was included as a series of dummy indicators of height per 5 cm span (<155 cm, 155–160 cm, 160–165 cm, and ≥165 cm for women; <165 cm, 165–170 cm, 170–175 cm, 175–180 cm, and ≥180 cm for men). We controlled for household- and individual-level random effects. We used a random-effect quantile regression model for monthly wages to assess the heterogeneity in the height–wage relationship, across the conditional distribution of monthly wages. We found a non-linear relationship of height with monthly wages. For men, the magnitude of the height wage premium was overall larger at the upper quantile of the conditional distribution of log monthly wages than at the median to low quantile, particularly in professional and semi-professional occupations. The height–wage premium was also larger at the 90th quantile for self-employed women and salaried men. Our findings add a global dimension to the existing evidence on height-wage premium, demonstrating non-linearity in the association between height and wages and heterogeneous changes in the dispersion and direction of the association between height and wages, by wage level.

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