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Posted by on Dec 29, 2008 in Science & Technology, Society | 4 comments

Research Suggests Tall People Earn More Because They’re Smarter

I’m skeptical, but there’s data. Taller people average about 1.5% higher wages, and that holds up for both men and women. Researchers attribute about half of that to higher educational attainment and half due to taller people selecting higher status occupations.

But does that mean they’re smarter? I wonder if there isn’t some sort of difficult-to-measure confidence variable that gives taller individuals an advantage. That is, biologically we’re inclined to perceive the taller members of the tribe as the healthiest and strongest, so perhaps we subconsciously give them just a skosh more respect and trust than we would someone shorter. Maybe we’re more inclined to accept a business deal or agree with an argument delivered by a tall person. Maybe taller people internalize that from a young age and have more self-confidence to pursue higher education or lucrative fields.

Or maybe not. I’m just thinking out loud here. Previous research actually supports the notion that taller people on average have greater cognitive function. Interesting stuff, whatever the reason.

Paul Caron also points out that the taller presidential candidate, going all the way back to George Washington, has won the popular vote 66% of the time.