How popular were you in high school? Whether you were a loner or a homecoming king – it can affect your paycheck! That’s the new finding from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Researchers analyzed data from 10,000 people who graduated from high school in 1957. They calculated how many friends they had in high school, and their salaries over the years.

The result? Popular kids earned the most money! In fact, researchers call it the “popularity premium” and say that former cool kids earn 10% higher wages than the least popular. And that can add up to tens of thousands of dollars over a career.

So, why does being popular pay? Experts say it’s because the former prom kings and cheer captains of the world honed their friendship-making skills. They also tend to be better communicators – and more extroverted. And if a person can be popular among diverse groups in high school, it stands to reason that when they get out onto the real world, they’ll do better dealing with diverse groups in the workplace, too.