Are tall men more likely to be leaders because of height bias — or because they’re actually smarter?

This paper studies the relationship between height and leadership. Using data from a representative sample of Swedish men, I document that tall men are significantly more likely to attain managerial positions. An increase in height by 10 centimeters (3.94 inches) is associated with a 2.2 percentage point increase in the probability of holding a managerial position. Selection into managerial positions explains about 15 percent of the unconditional height wage premium. However, at least half of the height-leadership correlation is due to a positive correlation between height and cognitive and noncognitive ability.

Source: “Height and Leadership” from IFN Working Paper No. 835, 2010

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