Daily Chart: Tall People Have Better Lives

By Conor Clarke

Via Catherine Rampell, I see there's some new research about the relationship between height and quality of life. The findings? Tall people enjoy a higher quality of life. Specifically, the Talls are richer and happier than the Shorts. (The paper in question has some cool charts, which I'll happily steal.) Here's happier:

tall people appier.png
And here's richer:

tall people richer.pngA while back Greg Mankiw suggested that maybe we should have a height tax -- not with the intention of enacting one (as was sometimes misunderstood) but with the intention of sussing out a moral intuition about the appropriate role of taxes. A height tax sounds horrible and absurd, but it would actually be pretty darn efficient: You would get the benefit of taxing something strongly correlated with a higher income, without the drawback of distorting incentives or decreasing effort. You can change how hard you work; you can't really change your height.

I share Greg's moral intuition that a height tax would be, somehow, wrong. But the more I see data like this, the more I think it might be a good (if utterly impractical) idea.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2009/06/daily-chart-tall-people-have-better-lives/20097/