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THE EFFECTS OF PEOPLES’ HEIGHT AND RELATIVE HEIGHT ON WELL-BEING

Vincenzo Carrieri () and Maria De Paola ()

No 201110, Working Papers from Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF

Abstract: Using a rich Italian survey, we investigate the effect of height on individual happiness. From our analysis it emerges that a large part of the effect of height on well-being is driven by a positive correlation between height and economic and health conditions. However, for young males the effect of height on happiness persists even after controlling for these variables, implying that height may produce some psycho-social direct effects on well-being. Consistent with this hypothesis, we find that males care not only about their own height but also about the height of people in their reference group. Well-being is greater for individuals who are taller than other subjects in their reference group. Results are robust to different definitions of reference group and controlling for a number of other reference group characteristics. We speculate that the beneficial effect of height on young males' well-being may be related to the fact that in some countries, such as Italy, and especially for men, height is considered as a proxy for handsomeness.

Keywords: height; social comparison; subjective well-being (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D6 I10 I30 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 18 pages
Date: 2011-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hap, nep-hea and nep-ltv
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1)

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