“You must be this tall to ride this ride” – Mexican edition

Tom Vogl has an interesting piece coming out in the Journal of Development Economics entitled “Height, Skills, and Labor Market Outcomes in Mexico.” Click here for the NBER working paper version.

Vogl studies about 4,000 men* in Mexico aged 25-65 and finds that “each centimeter of height earns these men 2 percent higher wages, a premium similar to those observed in other devel- oping countries but more than twice those observed in most wealthy countries.”

So what accounts for such a large height premium?
1. He shows that cognitive ability (as measured by test scores) can only explain a limited amount of the height premium.
2. About one half of the premium is due to the education level and occupational choices of taller men.  Said men tend to specialize more in jobs that require cognitive ability and less in ones that rely on physical strength.

He also has some interesting results on indigenous populations, which tend to be shorter and have lower wages on average in Mexico.  If you are interested in the subject or in Mexico, it’s definitely worth checking out the whole article.

*Note that he doesn’t report the results for women but writes that they are broadly similar.


2 thoughts on ““You must be this tall to ride this ride” – Mexican edition

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