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Beauty is the promise of happiness?

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  • Hamermesh, Daniel S.
  • Abrevaya, Jason

Abstract

We measure the impact of individuals' looks on life satisfaction and happiness. Using six data sets, from Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, we construct beauty measures in a number of different ways. Beauty raises happiness: A one standard-deviation change in beauty generates about 0.08 standard deviations of additional satisfaction/happiness among men, 0.07 among women. The finding is robust to a rare opportunity to measure it using an instrumental variables approach. Accounting for a wide variety of covariates, particularly educational, marital, and labor-market outcomes that might be affected by beauty, the gross effects are roughly halved, with small reductions arising from the impact of beauty on monetary outcomes.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 64 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 351-368

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:64:y:2013:i:c:p:351-368

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer

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Keywords: Happiness; Beauty; Measurement error;

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  17. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Cesur, Resul & Mocan, Naci, 2014. "Does Secular Education Impact Religiosity, Electoral Participation and the Propensity to Vote for Islamic Parties? Evidence from an Education Reform in a Muslim Country," IZA Discussion Papers 8017, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Gevel, A.J.W. van de & Noussair, C.N., 2012. "The Nexus between Artificial Intelligence and Economics," Discussion Paper 2012-087, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  3. Hani Mansour & Terra McKinnish, 2011. "Who Marries Differently-Aged Spouses?: Earnings, Ability and Appearance," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1123, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  4. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Daiji Kawaguchi & Jungmin Lee, 2014. "Does Labor Legislation Benefit Workers? Well-Being after an Hours Reduction," NBER Working Papers 20398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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