Being popular in high school has perks that last long after graduation.In a paper titled “Popularity,” researchers used data that included more than 10,000 people who graduated from Wisconsin High School in 1957 to determine whether popularity during adolescence translates to higher earnings in the future.
Participants in the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study were asked to list three people who they considered their closest friends, and the names that appeared the most often were considered the most popular.
For nearly 60 decades, the researchers followed up with these once-popular kids to see if their social skills from high school affected their career achievements.
Unfortunately for the nerds, results — published by the National Bureau of Economic Research — concluded that the popular kids received two per cent in higher wages compared to their peers. This difference is nearly half of how much an additional year of education would earn for them (via Sarah Kliff at The Washington Post).
The study said that the social skills these people learned in high school enabled them to better adapt in working environments. Furthermore, the connections they made in school could have also helped to broaden their professional network in the long run.
The researchers concluded that these interactions in high school “train individual personalities to be socially adequate for the successful performance of their adult roles. Consistent with our view, we interpret our measure of popularity as a measure of the stock of social skills of a particular individual.”
They also recommended that school policies be implemented to promote social integration since “developing social competencies may be a fruitful way of promoting success in life.”
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