Richer by the Inch

Carter Brannan – Honorbound

If everything was stripped from you as a human being what would be left? Would you be able to survive a competitive job market? If you are tall, then you most definitely could. “Human capital is the sum total of skills embodied within an individual: education, intelligence, charisma, creativity, work experience, entrepreneurial vigor, even the ability to throw a baseball fast”[1]. Height contributes to increasing a person’s human capital by making the person more confident, therefore taller people are more likely to have higher wages.

The amount of money you could possibly earn can be determined at a very young age, especially as a teenager when going through puberty. A study in 2001 by Nicola Persico, Andrew Postlewaite and Dan Silverman of the University of Pennsylvania proved this theory, “It’s the height a person had as a teenager that matters when it comes to bringing home the bacon as an adult. ‘Two adults of the same age and height who were different heights at age 16 are treated differently on the labor market,’” Persico, Postlewaite and Silverman stated[2]. They ultimately concluded that those who were relatively short when they were young were less likely to participate in social activities associated with the growth of productive skills and attributes, and report lower self-esteem. Another study in 2003 proved that the amount of money a person earns dates back to their youth, “A study of 2,000 U.S. men found that their height at age 16 had a big effect on their salary as an adult, regardless of how tall they ended up being”[3].

People can gain confidence because of their height at age 15 or at age 21. The confidence they have due to their height is really what causes them to earn more. Not the height itself, but the confidence they receive from their height. Arianne Cohen, author of “The Tall Book” states, “‘Tall people tend to act like a leader from a very young age because other children relate to them like a slightly older peer,’ she said on the radio program. ‘In the workplace, when you’re automatically acting as a leader, that’s really important when it comes time for promotion’”[4]. As humans we judge people based on their looks, which is an advantage for taller people, “Taller people are perceived to be more intelligent and powerful”[5]. This perception of tall people boosts their self-confidence, which helps make them more successful.

The statistics do prove that confidence caused by height does increase a person’s salary. A study by Timothy A. Judge, Ph.D., of the University of Florida, and researcher Daniel M. Cable, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina found that, “Every inch of height amounts to a salary increase of about $789 per year (the study controlled for gender, weight and age)”[6]. They concluded that by this calculation, “Someone who is 6 feet tall earns $5,525 more annually than someone who is 5 feet, 6 inches”[7].

The perception that tall people are more “powerful,” “intelligent,” “confident,” and portray “leader” traits causes them to be looked up to as leaders and respected more. Therefore, people with above average height during puberty, or in adulthood, usually embody confidence and self-esteem in the workforce, thus receiving higher wages.

[1] Wheelan, Charles J. Naked Economics: Undressing The Dismal Science. New York: Norton, 2002.

[2] Donohue, Meg. “Why Tall People Make More Money.” CNN. Accessed February 02, 2007. http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/Careers/02/02/cb.tall.people/.

[3] Britt, Robert Roy. “Taller People Earn More Money.” July 11, 2009. Accessed December 04, 2016. http://www.livescience.com/5552-taller-people-earn-money.html.

[4] Britt, Robert Roy. “Taller People Earn More Money.” July 11, 2009. Accessed December 04, 2016. http://www.livescience.com/5552-taller-people-earn-money.html.

[5] Britt, Robert Roy. “Taller People Earn More Money.” July 11, 2009. Accessed December 04, 2016. http://www.livescience.com/5552-taller-people-earn-money.html.

[6] Donohue, Meg. “Why Tall People Make More Money.” CNN. Accessed February 02, 2007. http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/Careers/02/02/cb.tall.people/.

[7] Donohue, Meg. “Why Tall People Make More Money.” CNN. Accessed February 02, 2007. http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/Careers/02/02/cb.tall.people/.

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