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