Stature and Subjective Well-Being Evidence from the Indonesian Family and Life Survey

ZEIDAN, Jinan (2012). "Stature and Subjective Well-Being Evidence from the Indonesian Family and Life Survey" Paper presented at the 9th annual conference of the HDCA, 5-7 September 2012, Jakarta, Indonesia.

We use data from the fourth wave of the Indonesian Family and Life Survey (IFLS) to investigate the presence of a height premium in happiness as well as the existence of a positional concern with respect to stature. In order to disentangle the channels through which individuals’ height may affect their subjective assessments, different corresponding covariates are successively introduced in a series of OLS regressions with the assessment of happiness as the dependent variable. Regressions were run separately for men and women. Results show that relatively taller people are on average happier. Although this finding cannot be attributed to marital and occupational situations of taller persons, this association is far from straightforward. In particular, this link is due to the higher education level reached by taller people and, mostly, their wealthier life conditions. Predicted values from complementary regressions controlling for age confirm the hypothesis of a height premium in education and wealth in Indonesia. To some extent, these findings are consistent with existing literature on American data where the premium is attributed to higher cognitive abilities of taller people. However, we find a positive relative effect of height for both genders, endorsing the hypothesis of a social comparisons process with respect to anthropometrics.
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