Short changed

Some people have all the luck. A new study has found that in Australia tall people make more money, particularly taller men. The researchers, Andrew Leigh and Michael Kortt from Australian National University, set out to determine if there was a relationship between a worker’s size and their salary.

The results indicated that men who were 6 feet tall made an average of $950 more per year than men just two inches shorter. In an interesting twist, the researchers did not find that being overweight was associated with making less money like studies done in several other countries.

The researchers used data from the Household, Income, and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey which has respondents provide details about their health. The researchers used responses from the 2006 and 2007 surveys and restricted the ages to 25-54. For more information about the data collection, the report can be found here.

In their report, the researchers ponder possible reasons for body size affecting salary:

“One possibility is that for particular jobs, body size has direct productive payoff.…It is also possible that body size has an indirect impact on productivity. For example, taller and slimmer workers might exude greater confidence in dealing with customers and co-workers, perhaps because others have treated them more favourable in the past. The final possibility is that shorter and more overweight workers might be subject to discrimination from customers, co-workers, or employers.”

The study also found the height and wage pattern to hold true for women; however, the relationship was not as significant as it was for men.

“Does Size Matter In Australia?” will be published in the July issue of The Economic Record.

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