Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Economists: Tall guy = rich guy

Economists take pleasure in coming up with models which defy our moral sense of what should be politically logical. One claim is that tall people should be taxed more on their incomes than short people. Almost everyone has met someone with (mythical) "short-man syndrome", but in capitalist societies, there might be some basis for height-challenged anger:
"A person's height is strongly correlated with his or her income. Judge and Cable (2004) report that "an individual who is 72 in. tall could be expected to earn $5,525 [in 2002 dollars]more per year than someone who is 65 in. tall, even after controlling for gender, weight, and age." Persico, Postlewaite, and Silverman (2004) find similar results and report that "among adult white men in the United States, every additional inch of height as an adult is associated with a 1.8 percent increase in wages." Case and Paxson (2006) write that "For both men and women...an additional inch of height [is] associated with a one to two percent increase in earnings."[1]

Fortunately, I'm just under 6'2", so I'm feeling good about my economic future right now. This table[1] below shows only about 9% of the US can snub their altitudenous noses at me. Odd thing, however, among academics, I've noticed I'm not all that tall. But at the mall or at a football game, I have the better view in a crowd.


[image] bedrock.deadsquid.com (Accessed 12/16/2007)

[1] N. Gregory Mankiw and Matthew Weinzierl "The Optimal Taxation of Height:A Case Study of Utilitarian Income Redistribution"

[2] Julie Wheldon "Forget Napoleon, taller men have the shorter fuse" Daily Mail March 28, 2007 (Accessed 12/16/2007)

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At 9:17 PM, Anonymous Matt said...

well, at 6'3" I should do all right, even going into the ministry. nice.


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