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Cinnirella, Francesco; Piopiunik, Marc; Winter, Joachim (2010): Why does height matter for educational Attainment? Evidence from German pre-teen children. CESifo working paper: Economics of Education, 2983
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Several studies have shown that body height is positively associated with educational attainment. In this paper, we investigate the mechanisms behind this relationship using data on German pre-teen students. We show that (i) taller children are more likely to enroll in ’Gymnasium’, the most academic secondary school track, and that (ii) primary school teachers give better recommendations to taller students. This holds even when controlling for academic achievement and parental background. In addition, we present some evidence that height and social skills are positively associated already at age 2-3. Our results imply that controlling for social skills would significantly reduce estimates of the height-school premium. With respect to education policy, our findings suggest that early school tracking might increase disadvantages for students with low social skills.

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