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Effects of physical attractiveness, personality, and grooming on academic performance in high school

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Author Info

  • French, Michael T.
  • Robins, Philip K.
  • Homer, Jenny F.
  • Tapsell, Lauren M.

Abstract

Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), we investigate whether certain aspects of personal appearance (i.e., physical attractiveness, personality, and grooming) affect a student's cumulative grade point average (GPA) in high school. When physical attractiveness is entered into the model as the only measure of personal appearance (as has been done in previous studies), it has a positive and statistically significant impact on GPA for female students and a positive yet not statistically significant effect for male students. Including personality and grooming, the effect of physical attractiveness turns negative for both groups, but is only statistically significant for males. For male and female students, being very well groomed is associated with a statistically significant GPA premium. While grooming has the largest effect on GPA for male students, having a very attractive personality is most important for female students. Numerous sensitivity analyses support the core results for grooming and personality. Possible explanations for these findings include teacher discrimination, differences in student objectives, and rational resource allocation decisions.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 16 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 373-382

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:16:y:2009:i:4:p:373-382

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

Related research

Keywords: Physical attractiveness Personality Grooming Adolescents High school grades;

References

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  1. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  2. Ciska M. Bosman & Gerard Pfann & Jeff E. Biddle & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1997. "Business Success and Businesses' Beauty Capital," NBER Working Papers 6083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  4. Bernd Sussmuth, 2006. "Beauty in the classroom: are German students less blinded? Putative pedagogical productivity due to professors' pulchritude: peculiar or pervasive?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(2), pages 231-238.
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  7. Schwer, R. Keith & Daneshvary, Rennae, 2000. "Keeping up one's appearance: Its importance and the choice of type of hair-grooming establishment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 207-222, April.
  8. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 1998. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," NBER Working Papers 6691, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Parker, Amy, 2005. "Beauty in the classroom: instructors' pulchritude and putative pedagogical productivity," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 369-376, August.
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  12. Jeff E. Biddle & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1995. "Beauty, Productivity and Discrimination: Lawyers' Looks and Lucre," NBER Working Papers 5366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. Harper, Barry, 2000. " Beauty, Stature and the Labour Market: A British Cohort Study," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 62(0), pages 771-800, Special I.
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Cited by:
  1. López Bóo, Florencia & Rossi, Martín A. & Urzua, Sergio, 2012. "The Labor Market Return to an Attractive Face: Evidence from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 6356, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Das, Jayoti & De Loach, Stephen B., 2011. "Mirror, mirror on the wall: The effect of time spent grooming on earnings," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 26-34, February.
  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.

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