Beauty and the Labor Market
AbstractWe develop a theory of sorting across occupations based on looks and derive its implications for testing for the source of earnings differentials related to looks. These differentials are examined using the 1977 Quality of Employment, the 1971 Quality of American Life, and the 1981 Canadian Quality of Life surveys, all of which contain interviewers' ratings of the respondents' physical appearance. Holding constant demographic and labor-market characteristics, plain people earn less than people of average looks, who earn less than the good-looking. The penalty for plainness is 5 to 10 percent, slightly larger than the premium for beauty. The effects are slightly larger for men than women; but unattractive women are less likely than others to participate in the labor force and are more likely to be married to men with unexpectedly low human capital. Better-looking people sort into occupations where beauty is likely to be more productive; but the impact of individuals' looks on their earnings is mostly independent of occupation.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4518.
Date of creation: Nov 1993
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as American Economic Review, vol 84, Dec. 1994, pp 1174-1194
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
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Other versions of this item:
- Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994. "Beauty and the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1174-94, December.
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
- J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-1999-02-08 (All new papers)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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"The Economic Reality of the Beauty Myth,"
NBER Working Papers
4521, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 276-86, May.
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Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- The Science of Beauty
by Autumn Whitefield-Madrano in The Beheld on 2011-09-20 07:52:00
- Beauty, money and experiments
by Gabrielle in Ecopublix on 2008-10-28 10:26:00
- Men, start grooming!
by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2008-01-17 08:08:00
- Development that Works: What you see is (not) what you get (discrimination)
by Francisco MejÃa in Eval Central on 2012-11-15 11:58:20
- Belleza y discriminación
by Francisco Mejía in Hacia el desarrollo efectivo on 2012-11-15 18:54:58
- Development that Works: What you see is (not) what you get
by Francisco Mejía in Eval Central on 2012-11-15 11:58:20
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