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Changing looks and changing "discrimination": The beauty of economists

  • Hamermesh, Daniel S.

I estimate the effects of changing an ascriptive characteristic on a market outcome while keeping the average amount of information unchanged. Taking advantage of candidates' multiple appearances in elections to office in a professional association and of the presence of different photographs accompanying the ballots, I show that exogenous increases in beauty raise a candidate's chance of success. The results support the inference that differential outcomes are inherent in agents' responses to an ascriptive characteristic and do not stem from correlations with unobserved differences in productivity-enhancing characteristics.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V84-4MBBYK0-1/2/7de061346a7b84656d347f6500e017b3
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics Letters.

Volume (Year): 93 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (December)
Pages: 405-412

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:93:y:2006:i:3:p:405-412
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolet

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  1. Claudia Goldin & Cecilia Rouse, 1997. "Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of "Blind" Auditions on Female Musicians," NBER Working Papers 5903, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Weichselbaumer, Doris, 2003. "Sexual orientation discrimination in hiring," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(6), pages 629-642, December.
  3. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
  4. Mobius, Markus & Rosenblat, Tanya, 2006. "Why Beauty Matters," Scholarly Articles 3043406, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Blank, Rebecca M, 1991. "The Effects of Double-Blind versus Single-Blind Reviewing: Experimental Evidence from The American Economic Review," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1041-67, December.
  6. Ciska M. Bosman & Gerard Pfann & Jeff E. Biddle & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1997. "Business Success and Businesses' Beauty Capital," NBER Working Papers 6083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Biddle, Jeff E & Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1998. "Beauty, Productivity, and Discrimination: Lawyers' Looks and Lucre," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 172-201, January.
  8. David Neumark & Roy J. Bank & Kyle D. Van Nort, 1995. "Sex Discrimination in Restaurant Hiring: An Audit Study," NBER Working Papers 5024, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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