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Does Size Matter in Australia?

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We estimate the relationship between hourly wages and two aspects of body size: height and body mass index (BMI). We observe a height premium, with an additional 10 cm of height being associated with a 3 per cent increase in hourly wages for men. However, workers with higher BMI scores do not seem to earn lower wages. These results are largely unaffected by controlling for physical health, or (in the case of BMI) instrumenting with the BMI of biological family members. A survey of previous instrumental variables studies shows little indication of systematic biases, suggesting that OLS may provide a reasonable estimate of the causal impact of BMI on wages.
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Keywords: I10; J31; J71

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia 2: Economics Program, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, Australia

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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