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 😉