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Dress for success--does primping pay?

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  • Hamermesh, Daniel S.
  • Meng, Xin
  • Zhang, Junsen

Abstract

A unique survey of Shanghai residents in 1996 that combined labor-market information, appraisals of respondents' beauty, and household expenditures allows us to examine the relative magnitudes of the investment and consumption components of women's spending on beauty-enhancing goods and services. We find that beauty raises women's earnings (and to a lesser extent, men's) adjusted for a wide range of controls. Additional spending on clothing and cosmetics has a generally positive but decreasing marginal impact on a woman's perceived beauty. The relative sizes of these effects demonstrate that such purchases pay back at most 10 percent of each unit of expenditure in the form of higher earnings. Most such spending represents consumption.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 9 (2002)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 361-373

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:9:y:2002:i:3:p:361-373

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References

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  1. Lundberg, S.J. & Pollak, R.A. & Wales, T.J., 1994. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from U.K. Child Benefit," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 94-6, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  2. Junsen Zhang & William Chan, 1999. "Dowry and Wife's Welfare: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 786-808, August.
  3. Biddle, Jeff E & Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1998. "Beauty, Productivity, and Discrimination: Lawyers' Looks and Lucre," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 172-201, January.
  4. Shelly J. Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak & Terence J. Wales, 1997. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from the United Kingdom Child Benefit," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 463-480.
  5. Eric A. Hanushek, 1996. "Measuring Investment in Education," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 9-30, Fall.
  6. Strauss, J. & Thomas, D., 1995. "Health, Nutrition and Economic development," Papers 95-23, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
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Cited by:
  1. Jayoti Das & Stephen B. DeLoach, 2008. "Mirror, mirror on the wall: The effect of time spent grooming on wages," Working Papers 2008-01, Elon University, Department of Economics.
  2. Niclas Berggren & Henrik Jordahl & Panu Poutvaara, 2007. "The Looks of a Winner: Beauty, Gender, and Electoral Success," CESifo Working Paper Series 2002, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Naci Mocan & Erdal Tekin, 2006. "Ugly Criminals," NBER Working Papers 12019, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Franklin G. Mixon & Steven B. Caudill, 2013. "Campus competition and co-ed allure: An institution-level analysis of collegiate dating markets," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(1), pages 442-453.
  5. DOORLEY Karina & SIERMINSKA Eva, 2011. "Beauty and the beast in the labor market: Evidence from a distribution regression approach," CEPS/INSTEAD Working Paper Series 2011-62, CEPS/INSTEAD.
  6. Guéguen, Nicolas, 2012. "Hair color and wages: Waitresses with blond hair have more fun," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 370-372.
  7. Claudia Sanhueza & Rodrigo Bravo & Oscar Giusti, 2008. "La Belleza y su Efecto en el Mercado Laboral: Evidencia para Chile," ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers inv204, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines.
  8. Berggren, Niclas & Jordahl, Henrik & Poutvaara, Panu, 2011. "The Right Look: Conservative Politicians Look Better and Their Voters Reward It," IZA Discussion Papers 5513, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Pfeifer, Christian, 2011. "Physical Attractiveness, Employment, and Earnings," IZA Discussion Papers 5664, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Doorley, Karina & Sierminska, Eva, 2012. "Myth or Fact? The Beauty Premium across the Wage Distribution," IZA Discussion Papers 6674, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Pfann, Gerard A. & Biddle, Jeff E. & Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Bosman, Ciska M., 2000. "Business success and businesses' beauty capital," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 201-207, May.
  12. Arunachalam, Raj & Shah, Manisha, 2010. "The Prostitute's Allure: Examining Returns to Beauty, Productivity and Discrimination," IZA Discussion Papers 5064, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Deryugina, Tatyana & Shurchkov, Olga, 2013. "Does Beauty Matter in Undergraduate Education?," MPRA Paper 53582, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. 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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