Does how popular you were in high school affect how much money you make later in life?


…We then analyze the effect of the in-degree and out-degree of friendship on adult economic success as measured by each individual’s level of earnings some 35 years later. While the out-degree (gregariousness) has no effect, we find a positive effect for in-degree (popularity). One additional friendship nomination in high school is associated with a 2 percent higher wage 35 years later. This is roughly equivalent to almost half the gain from an extra year of education. Shifting somebody from the bottom fifth to the top fifth of the school popularity distribution (in other words, turning a social reject into a star) would be predicted to yield him a 10 percent wage advantage. This work emphasizes the critical importance of the early development of social skills alongside cognitive and productive skills as a basis for economic success in adult life.

Source:”Popularity” from Institute for Social and Economics Research, No. 2009-03, February 2009

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