The height premium: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Kristina Thompson*, France Portrait, Linda Schoonmade

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The taller people are, the more money they tend to earn. This phenomenon is widely known as the height premium. However, it is not yet known whether the height premium is universal, or whether it varies by context. To that end, a systematic review of the literature was performed. Five databases were searched until August 2020. Ultimately, a list of 42 studies were included in a narrative synthesis, and 17 studies were included in a meta-analysis. Based on the meta-analysis, we found evidence that the height premium varied by context: the height premium was smaller in the U.S. and Australia, and larger in Latin America and Asia. Within geographies, there appeared to be a larger height premium for men than for women. Cultural factors, labor market structures and biology may play a role in determining the strength of the height premium.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101273
JournalEconomics and Human Biology
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Anthropometry
  • Body height
  • Labor market
  • Systematic review
  • Wages


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