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Beauty and the beast in the labor market: Evidence from a distribution regression approach

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  • DOORLEY Karina
  • SIERMINSKA Eva

Abstract

We apply an innovative technique to allow for differential effects of physical appearance across the wage distribution, as traditional methods confound opposing effects. Counterfactual wage distributions constructed using distribution regression,show that unattractive women are more likely to earn less than the median wage, particularly in professions where physical appearance is important. We also find a premium for well-paid attractive men in these professions. A comparison with results from traditional models shows that the characteristics of people in different physical appearance classes contributes to the effects identified using the latter and only a small portion could be discrimination.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CEPS/INSTEAD in its series CEPS/INSTEAD Working Paper Series with number 2011-62.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:irs:cepswp:2011-62

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Keywords: Wages; Distribution; Physical Appearance; Discrimination;

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References

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  1. Victor Chernozhukov & Iván Fernández‐Val & Blaise Melly, 2013. "Inference on Counterfactual Distributions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(6), pages 2205-2268, November.
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  12. Susan Averett & Sanders Korenman, 1996. "The Economic Reality of the Beauty Myth," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 304-330.
  13. 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.
  14. Vincent A. Hildebrand & Philippe Van Kerm, 2010. "Body size and wages in Europe: A semi-parametric analysis," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 269, McMaster University.
  15. Anindya Sen & Marcel-Cristian Voia & Frances R. Woolley, 2010. "Hot or Not: How Appearance Affects Earnings and Productivity in Academia," Carleton Economic Papers 10-07, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
  16. Greve, Jane, 2007. "Obesity and Labor Market Outcomes: New Danish Evidence," Working Papers 07-13, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  17. Moshe Buchinsky, 1998. "The dynamics of changes in the female wage distribution in the USA: a quantile regression approach," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(1), pages 1-30.
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Cited by:
  1. 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).

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