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Beauty, gender and stereotypes: Evidence from laboratory experiments

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  • Andreoni, James
  • Petrie, Ragan

Abstract

The existence of a beauty premium in the labor market and the male-female wage gap suggests that appearance can matter in the real world. We explore beauty and gender in a public goods experiment and find similar effects. We find a beauty premium, even though beautiful people contribute, on average, no more or less than others. The beauty premium, however, disappears when we provide information on individual contributions, and becomes a beauty penalty. Players seem to expect beautiful people to be more cooperative. Relative to these expectations, they appear more selfish, which in turn results in less cooperation by others. These appear to be clear examples of stereotyping. We also find a substantial benefit to being male, especially with information. This is primarily due to men being better "leaders." Men tend to make large contributions, and people follow their example and give more in later rounds.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

Volume (Year): 29 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 73-93

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Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:29:y:2008:i:1:p:73-93

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

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  1. James Andreoni & Lise Vesterlund, 2001. "Which Is The Fair Sex? Gender Differences In Altruism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 293-312, February.
  2. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994. "Beauty and the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1174-94, December.
  3. Bruno S. Frey & Iris Bohnet, 1999. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 335-339, March.
  4. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance In Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074, August.
  5. Markus M. Mobius & Tanya S. Rosenblat, 2006. "Why Beauty Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 222-235, March.
  6. John A. List, 2004. "Young, Selfish and Male: Field evidence of social preferences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(492), pages 121-149, 01.
  7. Chaim Fershtman & Uri Gneezy, 2001. "Discrimination In A Segmented Society: An Experimental Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 351-377, February.
  8. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 1998. "Are Women Less Selfish Than Men? Evidence from Dictator Experiments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 726-35, May.
  9. Edward L. Glaeser & David I. Laibson & José A. Scheinkman & Christine L. Soutter, 2000. "Measuring Trust," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 811-846, August.
    • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "Differences in the Economic Decisions of Men and Women: Experimental Evidence," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  11. Marco Castillo & Ragan Petrie & Maximo Torero, 2006. "Social Barriers to Cooperation: Experiments on the Extent and Nature of Discrimination in Peru," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2007-01, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  12. James Andreoni & Ragan Petrie, 2003. "Public Goods Experiments Without Confidentiality: A Glimpse Into Fund-Raising," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000520, David K. Levine.
  13. Scharlemann, Jorn P. W. & Eckel, Catherine C. & Kacelnik, Alex & Wilson, Rick K., 2001. "The value of a smile: Game theory with a human face," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 617-640, October.
  14. Bohnet, Iris & Frey, Bruno S., 1999. "The sound of silence in prisoner's dilemma and dictator games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 43-57, January.
  15. Ronald Bosman & Frans van Winden, 2002. "Emotional Hazard in a Power-to-take Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 147-169, January.
  16. Dufwenberg, Martin & Muren, Astri, 2006. "Gender composition in teams," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 50-54, September.
  17. Colin Camerer & Teck H Ho & Juin-Kuan Chong & Keith Weigelt, 2003. "Strategic teaching and equilibrium models of repeated trust and entry games," Levine's Bibliography 506439000000000506, UCLA Department of Economics.
  18. Burnham, Terence C., 2003. "Engineering altruism: a theoretical and experimental investigation of anonymity and gift giving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 133-144, January.
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