University of Oulu

Petri Böckerman, Jutta Viinikainen, Jari Vainiomäki, Mirka Hintsanen, Niina Pitkänen, Terho Lehtimäki, Jaakko Pehkonen, Suvi Rovio, Olli Raitakari, Stature and long-term labor market outcomes: Evidence using Mendelian randomization, Economics & Human Biology, Volume 24, February 2017, Pages 18-29, ISSN 1570-677X, (

Stature and long-term labor market outcomes : evidence using Mendelian randomization

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Author: Böckerman, Petri1; Viinikainen, Jutta2; Vainiomäki, Jari3;
Organizations: 1Turku School of Economics, Labour Institute for Economic Research, Helsinki, Finland
2Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics, Jyväskylä, Finland
3School of Management, University of Tampere, Finland
4Unit of Psychology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
6Department of Clinical Chemistry, Fimlab Laboratories and School of Medicine, University of Tampere, Finland
7Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Turku and Department of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2017
Publish Date: 2017-05-15


We use the Young Finns Study (N = ~2000) on the measured height linked to register-based long-term labor market outcomes. The data contain six age cohorts (ages 3, 6, 9, 12, 15 and 18, in 1980) with the average age of 31.7, in 2001, and with the female share of 54.7. We find that taller people earn higher earnings according to the ordinary least squares (OLS) estimation. The OLS models show that 10 cm of extra height is associated with 13% higher earnings. We use Mendelian randomization, with the genetic score as an instrumental variable (IV) for height to account for potential confounders that are related to socioeconomic background, early life conditions and parental investments, which are otherwise very difficult to fully account for when using covariates in observational studies. The IV point estimate is much lower and not statistically significant, suggesting that the OLS estimation provides an upward biased estimate for the height premium. Our results show the potential value of using genetic information to gain new insights into the determinants of long-term labor market success.

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Series: Economics & human biology
ISSN: 1570-677X
ISSN-E: 1873-6130
ISSN-L: 1570-677X
Volume: 24
Pages: 18 - 29
DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2016.10.009
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 511 Economics
515 Psychology
616 Other humanities
Funding: The Young Finns Study has been financially supported by the Academy of Finland: grants 286284 (for T.L.), 134309 (Eye), 126925, 121584, 124282, 129378 (Salve), 117787 (Gendi), and 41071 (Skidi); 293120 (Strategic Research Council funding for the project Work, Inequality and Public Policy); the Social Insurance Institution of Finland; Kuopio, Tampere and Turku University Hospital Medical Funds (for T.L. X51001); Juho Vainio Foundation; Paavo Nurmi Foundation; Finnish Foundation of Cardiovascular Research and Finnish Cultural Foundation; Tampere Tuberculosis Foundation and Emil Aaltonen Foundation. The Palkansaaja Foundation supported the use of linked data. Jutta Viinikainen and Jaakko Pehkonen acknowledge financial support from the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation (grants 6664 and 6646). Mirka Hintsanen acknowledges financial support from the Academy of Finland (project 258578).
Copyright information: © 2017. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license