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Does Beauty Matter in Undergraduate Education?

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  • Deryugina, Tatyana
  • Shurchkov, Olga

Abstract

Physically attractive individuals achieve greater success in terms of earnings and status than those who are less attractive. However, much about the mechanism behind this “beauty premium” remains unknown. We use a rich dataset to shed light on its nature at the college level. We find that students judged to be more attractive perform significantly worse on standardized tests but, conditional on test scores, are not evaluated more favorably at the point of admission. Controlling for test scores, more attractive students receive marginally better grades in some cases. Finally, there is substantial beauty-based sorting into areas of study and occupations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 53582.

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Date of creation: 05 Aug 2013
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:53582

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Keywords: Beauty; Undergraduate Education;

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References

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  1. Naci Mocan & Erdal Tekin, 2006. "Ugly Criminals," NBER Working Papers 12019, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2002. "Ability Sorting and the Returns to College Major," Working Papers, Duke University, Department of Economics 02-26, Duke University, Department of Economics.
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  4. Biddle, Jeff E & Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1998. "Beauty, Productivity, and Discrimination: Lawyers' Looks and Lucre," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 172-201, January.
  5. Mobius, Markus & Rosenblat, Tanya, 2006. "Why Beauty Matters," Scholarly Articles 3043406, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Blundell, Richard, et al, 2000. "The Returns to Higher Education in Britain: Evidence from a British Cohort," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(461), pages F82-99, February.
  7. Rodney J. Andrews & Jing Li & Michael F. Lovenheim, 2012. "Quantile Treatment Effects of College Quality on Earnings: Evidence from Administrative Data in Texas," NBER Working Papers 18068, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. Berggren, Niclas & Jordahl, Henrik & Poutvaara, Panu, 2010. "The looks of a winner: Beauty and electoral success," Munich Reprints in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics 20267, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  10. Dale, Stacy & Krueger, Alan B., 2011. "Estimating the Return to College Selectivity over the Career Using Administrative Earning Data," IZA Discussion Papers 5533, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Thomas N. Daymonti & Paul J. Andrisani, 1984. "Job Preferences, College Major, and the Gender Gap in Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(3), pages 408-428.
  12. Fletcher, Jason M., 2009. "Beauty vs. brains: Early labor market outcomes of high school graduates," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 105(3), pages 321-325, December.
  13. Matthew Wiswall & Basit Zafar, 2011. "Determinants of college major choice: identification using an information experiment," Staff Reports, Federal Reserve Bank of New York 500, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  14. Elish Kelly & Philip O'Connell & Emer Smyth, 2008. "The Economic Returns to Field of Study and Competencies Among Higher Education Graduates in Ireland," Papers, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) WP242, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  15. Berri, David J. & Simmons, Rob & Van Gilder, Jennifer & O'Neill, Lisle, 2011. "What does it mean to find the face of the franchise? Physical attractiveness and the evaluation of athletic performance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 111(3), pages 200-202, June.
  16. Mark C. Berger, 1988. "Predicted future earnings and choice of college major," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 41(3), pages 418-429, April.
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