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Cinnirella, Francesco; Piopiunik, Marc; Winter, Joachim (2011): Why does height matter for educational attainment? Evidence from German children. In: Economics and Human Biology, Vol. 9, No. 4: pp. 407-418

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Height is positively associated with educational attainment. We investigate the mechanisms behind this relationship using data on German pre-teen students. We show that taller children are more likely to enroll in Gymnasium, the most academic secondary school track, and that primary school teachers provide more favorable school track decisions to taller students. We find that a 1 cm increase in height is associated with a 1.6 percentage points increase in the probability of attending Gymnasium. This holds even when controlling for academic achievement and parental background. In addition, we present evidence that height and social skills are positively associated already at age 2-3. We propose the association between height and noncognitive skills as a possible explanation of the height-school premium, even if discrimination cannot be ruled out entirely.

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