Business Economics and Public Policy Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

2-2015

Publication Source

ILR Review

Volume

68

Issue

3

Start Page

529

Last Page

557

DOI

10.1177/0019793915572125

Abstract

Building on the economic research that demonstrates a positive relationship between height and worker ability, the author compares wage returns to height for immigrants and for natives to explore possible explanations for the positive wage–height gradient. Using multiple data sets, the article presents a robust empirical finding that the wage gains associated with height are almost twice as large for immigrants as for native-born individuals. This wage relationship occurs because the productivity gap between tall and short immigrants is greater than the productivity gap between tall and short native-born workers. The author next tests for the possibility that in the relative absence of other sources of information about immigrants, employers place more importance on height for immigrants than for native-born individuals. The evidence does not support the hypothesis of statistical discrimination based on height.

Keywords

height, productivity, immigration, statistical discrimination

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Date Posted: 27 November 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.