Child Height, Health and Human Capital: Evidence using Genetic Markers
European Economic Review , Volume 57 p. 1- 22
Height has long been recognized as being associated with better outcomes: the question is whether this association is causal. We use children’s genetic variants as instrumental variables to deal with possible unobserved confounders and examine the effect of child/adolescent height on a wide range of outcomes: academic performance, IQ, self-esteem, depression symptoms and behavioral problems. OLS findings show that taller children have higher IQ, perform better in school, and are less likely to have behavioral problems. The IV results differ: taller girls (but not boys) have better cognitive performance and, in contrast to the OLS, greater height appears to increase behavioral problems.