The Prostitute's Allure: The Return to Beauty in Commercial Sex Work
We estimate the earnings premium for beauty in an occupation where returns to physical attractiveness are likely to be important: commercial sex work. Using data from sex workers in Ecuador and Mexico, we find that a one standard deviation increase in attractiveness yields 10-15 percent higher earnings. Including controls for personal characteristics (communication ability and desirability of personality) cuts the beauty premium by up to one-half. Beautiful sex workers earn higher wages, have more clients, and enjoy a larger compensating differential for disease risk.
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Volume (Year): 12 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (December)
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