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"Beauty Is the Promise of Happiness"?

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  • Daniel S. Hamermesh
  • Jason Abrevaya

Abstract

We measure the impact of individuals’ looks on life satisfaction/happiness. Using five data sets, from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Germany, we construct beauty measures in different ways that allow placing lower bounds on the effects of beauty. Beauty raises happiness: A one standard-deviation change in beauty generates about 0.10 standard deviations of additional satisfaction/happiness among men, 0.12 among women. Accounting for a wide variety of covariates, particularly effects in the labor and marriage markets, including those that might be affected by differences in beauty, the impact among men is more than halved, among women slightly less than halved.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17327.

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Date of creation: Aug 2011
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Publication status: published as "Beauty Is the Promise of Happiness"? European Economic Review, Volume 64 (2013): 351-368
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17327

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  1. 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.
  2. Mocan, Naci & Tekin, Erdal, 2006. "Ugly Criminals," IZA Discussion Papers 2048, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  16. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Gunter J. Hitsch & Ali Horta�su & Dan Ariely, 2010. "Matching and Sorting in Online Dating," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 130-63, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Resul Cesur & Naci H. Mocan, 2013. "Does Secular Education Impact Religiosity, Electoral Participation and the Propensity to Vote for Islamic Parties? Evidence from an Education Reform in a Muslim Country," NBER Working Papers 19769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Kawaguchi, Daiji & Lee, Jungmin, 2014. "Does Labor Legislation Benefit Workers? Well-Being after an Hours Reduction," IZA Discussion Papers 8077, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. 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.
  5. 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).

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