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Beauty is the promise of happiness?

  • Hamermesh, Daniel S.
  • Abrevaya, Jason

We measure the impact of individuals' looks on life satisfaction and happiness. Using six data sets, from Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, we construct beauty measures in a number of different ways. Beauty raises happiness: A one standard-deviation change in beauty generates about 0.08 standard deviations of additional satisfaction/happiness among men, 0.07 among women. The finding is robust to a rare opportunity to measure it using an instrumental variables approach. Accounting for a wide variety of covariates, particularly educational, marital, and labor-market outcomes that might be affected by beauty, the gross effects are roughly halved, with small reductions arising from the impact of beauty on monetary outcomes.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014292113001232
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 64 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 351-368

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:64:y:2013:i:c:p:351-368
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer

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  1. 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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  14. Mobius, Markus & Rosenblat, Tanya, 2010. "Why Beauty Matters," Staff General Research Papers 32112, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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  19. 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.
  20. Leigh, Andrew & Susilo, Tirta, 2009. "Is voting skin-deep? Estimating the effect of candidate ballot photographs on election outcomes," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 61-70, February.
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