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Height and stupidity November 5, 2006

Posted by Sharath Rao in economics, ideas, life.

Eureka !

I finally found out why I am stupid.

To the many indignities visited upon shorter than average males — lower incomes, disadvantage in mate selection, cut rates for their deposits at the local sperm bank, long odds of making the N.B.A. — has now been added this one: short people are stupider than tall people. That’s the finding of a recent study by two Princeton economists who conclude, painfully for those of us (men) who are south of 5 feet 9 inches, that the reason taller people make more money is that they are smarter.

I also found out why I will make a better husband.

Darwin himself intriguingly suggested that while there is a general evolutionary bias toward greater size, survival-of-the-fittest pressures on our ancestors, who were smaller than their primate competitors, may have led to the development of human intelligence. Or, as Hall speculates, “the relative smallness and weakness of smaller human ancestors might be responsible for nothing less than the birth of civilization.” Speaking from his own experience, Hall surmises that being short as a boy forced him to develop not only greater mental quickness and wit but also greater empathy and understanding.

Herewith some advice for the ladies: When surveying the scrum that is the schoolyard (or the boardroom), resist the strapping breast-beater at the top of the pile and consider the runt at the bottom. He’s less likely to become president, but he might turn out to be the better husband.

My height by the way is 5’5.5″.

Ofcourse, I am using this more as a form of humor than anything else. As with several statistical/empirical studies I quote here, these are likelihoods, aggregate figures – so I wouldnt like to mislead the female readers – you never know – maybe I am smart but (will make a) terrible husband.

A part of the problem of establishing direction of causality ( if A increases with B, did A cause B or did B cause A ). Consider for example the findings of this study versus this one.

Okay, okay, I know the last few posts have been rather controversial.



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