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Beauty, body size and wages: Evidence from a unique data set

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  • Oreffice, Sonia
  • Quintana-Domeque, Climent

Abstract

We analyze how attractiveness rated at the start of the interview in the German General Social Survey is related to weight, height, and body mass index (BMI), separately by gender and accounting for interviewers’ characteristics or fixed effects. We show that height, weight, and BMI all strongly contribute to male and female attractiveness when attractiveness is rated by opposite-sex interviewers, and that anthropometric characteristics are irrelevant to male interviewers when assessing male attractiveness. We also estimate whether, controlling for beauty, body size measures are related to hourly wages. We find that anthropometric attributes play a significant role in wage regressions in addition to attractiveness, showing that body size cannot be dismissed as a simple component of beauty. Our findings are robust to controlling for health status and accounting for selection into working.

Suggested Citation

  • Oreffice, Sonia & Quintana-Domeque, Climent, 2016. "Beauty, body size and wages: Evidence from a unique data set," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 24-34.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:22:y:2016:i:c:p:24-34
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2016.01.003
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    Cited by:

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    2. Akbulut-Yuksel, Mevlude & Kugler, Adriana D., 2016. "Intergenerational persistence of health: Do immigrants get healthier as they remain in the U.S. for more generations?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 136-148.
    3. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Gordon, Rachel A. & Crosnoe, Robert, 2019. ""O Youth and Beauty:" Children's Looks and Children's Cognitive Development," IZA Discussion Papers 12708, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Wilson, Nicholas & Janicki, Martha, 2016. "A cut above the rest? Private anthropometrics in marriage markets," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 164-179.
    5. Brown, Christian & Routon, P. Wesley, 2018. "On the distributional and evolutionary nature of the obesity wage penalty," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 160-172.
    6. Nicole Black & Sonja C. de New, 2020. "Short, Heavy and Underrated? Teacher Assessment Biases by Children's Body Size," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 82(5), pages 961-987, October.
    7. Akbulut-Yuksel, Mevlude, 2017. "War during childhood: The long run effects of warfare on health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 117-130.
    8. Katarzyna Bech & Joanna Tyrowicz, 2017. "Estimating gender wage gap in the presence of efficiency wages -- evidence from European data," GRAPE Working Papers 20, GRAPE Group for Research in Applied Economics.
    9. Mavisakalyan, Astghik, 2018. "Do employers reward physical attractiveness in transition countries?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 38-52.
    10. Dilmaghani, Maryam, 2020. "Beauty perks: Physical appearance, earnings, and fringe benefits," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 38(C).
    11. Astghik Mavisakalyan, 2016. "Looks matter: Attractiveness and employment in the former soviet union," Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre Working Paper series WP1604, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School.

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