Homecoming Queen still on top

For all the nerds and geeks who cursed the popular people at high school but comforted themselves with the thought that future success would be theirs… Steven Levitt has bad news:

…each extra close friend in high school is associated with earnings that are 2 percent higher later in life after controlling for other factors. While not a huge effect, it does suggest that either that a) the same factors that make you popular in high school help you in a job setting, or b) that high-school friends can do you favors later in life that will earn you higher wages.

The paper is by Gabriella Conti and shows a 2 percent increase in earnings for each extra close friend at high school. That sounds like a pretty big effect to me, but Levitt cautions that the paper probably overstates the magnitude of the effect. In any event, being a tall, dark, handsome chap is still the way to go if you want to earn lots 😉

5 replies
  1. John
    John says:

    I think a) if your shy you won’t barge in looking for opportunity and social intelligence means you can convince other people.

  2. Matt Nolan
    Matt Nolan says:

    “In any event, being a tall, dark, handsome chap is still the way to go if you want to earn lots”

    I see – so in effect you have very high earning potential 😉

  3. Matt Nolan
    Matt Nolan says:


    No no – you are on your way towards your potential now aren’t you 😉

    BTW, taking a major tangent, you should ask your work mates if they don’t think house prices, and thereby household wealth, is not a major factor behind household consumption decisions. They seemed to implicitly say that it wasn’t last week – even though other analysts, and the weight of evidence, suggests the opposite.

    I was just wondering if they actually do use it as an input, but just didn’t want to talk about it, or whether they have actually decided to “buck the trend”.

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