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Beauty and the Labor Market

  • Hamermesh, Daniel S
  • Biddle, Jeff E

The authors examine the impact of looks on earnings using interviewers' ratings of respondents' physical appearance. Plain people earn less than average-looking people, who earn less than the good-looking. The plainness penalty is 5 to 10 percent, slightly larger than the beauty premium. Effects for men are at least as great as for women. Unattractive women have lower labor-force participation rates and marry men with less human capital. Better-looking people sort into occupations where beauty may be more productive but the impact of individuals' looks is mostly independent of occupation, suggesting the existence of pure employer discrimination. Copyright 1994 by American Economic Association.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 84 (1994)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Pages: 1174-94

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:84:y:1994:i:5:p:1174-94
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  1. 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.
  2. Blau, Francine D & Beller, Andrea H, 1992. "Black-White Earnings over the 1970s and 1980s: Gender Differences in Trends," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 276-86, May.
  3. Alan E. Dillingham & Marianne A. Ferber & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1994. "Gender Discrimination by Gender: Voting in a Professional Society," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(4), pages 622-633, July.
  4. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
  5. Alan E. Dillingham & Daniel Hamermesh & Marianne Ferber, 1994. "Gender discrimination by gender: Voting in a professional society," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(4), pages 622-633, July.
  6. Terza, Joseph V., 1987. "Estimating linear models with ordinal qualitative regressors," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 275-291, March.
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