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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. Markus M. Mobius & Tanya S. Rosenblat, 2006. "Why Beauty Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 222-235, March.
  2. Claudia Goldin & Cecilia Rouse, 1997. "Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of 'Blind' Auditions on Female Musicians," Working Papers 755, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Pfann, Gerard A. & Biddle, Jeff E. & Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Bosman, Ciska M., 2000. "Business success and businesses' beauty capital," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 201-207, May.
  4. Doris Weichselbaumer, 2000. "Sexual orientation discrimination in hiring," Economics working papers 2000-21, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  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. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
  7. Jeff E. Biddle & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1995. "Beauty, Productivity and Discrimination: Lawyers' Looks and Lucre," NBER Working Papers 5366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Neumark, David, 1996. "Sex Discrimination in Restaurant Hiring: An Audit Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(3), pages 915-41, August.
  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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