IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jeborg/v116y2015icp331-345.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Now you see it, now you don’t: The vanishing beauty premium

Author

Listed:
  • Deryugina, Tatyana
  • Shurchkov, Olga

Abstract

We design a laboratory experiment to test the extent to which the often-observed “beauty premium” – a positive relationship between attractiveness and wages – is context-specific. Using three realistic worker tasks, we find that the existence of the “beauty premium” indeed depends on the task: while relatively more attractive workers receive higher wage bids in a bargaining task, there is no such premium in either an analytical task or a data entry task. Our analysis shows that the premium in bargaining is driven by statistical discrimination based on biased beliefs about worker performance. We also find that there is substantial learning after worker-specific performance information is revealed, highlighting the importance of accounting for longer-run interactions in studies of discrimination.

Suggested Citation

  • Deryugina, Tatyana & Shurchkov, Olga, 2015. "Now you see it, now you don’t: The vanishing beauty premium," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 331-345.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:116:y:2015:i:c:p:331-345
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2015.05.007
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268115001420
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Simon Gächter & Elke Renner, 2010. "The effects of (incentivized) belief elicitation in public goods experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(3), pages 364-377, September.
    2. Chaim Fershtman & Uri Gneezy, 2001. "Discrimination in a Segmented Society: An Experimental Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 351-377.
    3. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994. "Beauty and the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1174-1194, December.
    4. DavidJ. Cooper & Hanming Fang, 2008. "Understanding Overbidding In Second Price Auctions: An Experimental Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(532), pages 1572-1595, October.
    5. Naci Mocan & Erdal Tekin, 2010. "Ugly Criminals," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(1), pages 15-30, February.
    6. Mariana Blanco & Dirk Engelmann & Alexander Koch & Hans-Theo Normann, 2010. "Belief elicitation in experiments: is there a hedging problem?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(4), pages 412-438, December.
    7. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Parker, Amy, 2005. "Beauty in the classroom: instructors' pulchritude and putative pedagogical productivity," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 369-376, August.
    8. David Card & Francesco Devicienti & Agata Maida, 2014. "Rent-sharing, Holdup, and Wages: Evidence from Matched Panel Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 84-111.
    9. David H. Autor & David Dorn & Gordon H. Hanson, 2013. "The China Syndrome: Local Labor Market Effects of Import Competition in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2121-2168, October.
    10. W. Reed Walker, 2013. "The Transitional Costs of Sectoral Reallocation: Evidence From the Clean Air Act and the Workforce," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(4), pages 1787-1835.
    11. Hamermesh, Daniel S., 2006. "Changing looks and changing "discrimination": The beauty of economists," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 93(3), pages 405-412, December.
    12. Andreoni, James & Petrie, Ragan, 2008. "Beauty, gender and stereotypes: Evidence from laboratory experiments," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 73-93, February.
    13. Castillo, Marco & Petrie, Ragan & Torero, Maximo & Vesterlund, Lise, 2013. "Gender differences in bargaining outcomes: A field experiment on discrimination," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 35-48.
    14. Markus M. Mobius & Tanya S. Rosenblat, 2006. "Why Beauty Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 222-235, March.
    15. López Bóo, Florencia & Rossi, Martín A. & Urzúa, Sergio S., 2013. "The labor market return to an attractive face: Evidence from a field experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(1), pages 170-172.
    16. Michela Ponzo & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2012. "The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: Teaching Evaluations, Beauty And Abilities," Working Papers 201204, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    17. 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.
    18. Harper, Barry, 2000. " Beauty, Stature and the Labour Market: A British Cohort Study," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 62(0), pages 771-800, Special I.
    19. Anindya Sen & Marcel-Cristian Voia & Frances R. Woolley, 2010. "Hot or Not: How Appearance Affects Earnings and Productivity in Academia," Carleton Economic Papers 10-07, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
    20. Berggren, Niclas & Jordahl, Henrik & Poutvaara, Panu, 2010. "The looks of a winner: Beauty and electoral success," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 8-15, February.
    21. Fletcher, Jason M., 2009. "Beauty vs. brains: Early labor market outcomes of high school graduates," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 105(3), pages 321-325, December.
    22. Mary Amiti & Donald R. Davis, 2012. "Trade, Firms, and Wages: Theory and Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 1-36.
    23. Arunachalam Raj & Shah Manisha, 2012. "The Prostitute's Allure: The Return to Beauty in Commercial Sex Work," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-27, December.
    24. Michèle Belot & V. Bhaskar & Jeroen van de Ven, 2012. "Beauty and the Sources of Discrimination," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(3), pages 851-872.
    25. Berri, David J. & Simmons, Rob & Van Gilder, Jennifer & O'Neill, Lisle, 2011. "What does it mean to find the face of the franchise? Physical attractiveness and the evaluation of athletic performance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 111(3), pages 200-202, June.
    26. Castillo, Marco & Petrie, Ragan, 2010. "Discrimination in the lab: Does information trump appearance?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 50-59, January.
    27. Matthew Rabin, 1998. "Psychology and Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 11-46, March.
    28. Tatyana Deryugina & Olga Shurchkov, 2015. "Does Beauty Matter In Undergraduate Education?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(2), pages 940-961, April.
    29. 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.
    30. John Karl Scholz & Kamil Sicinski, 2015. "Facial Attractiveness and Lifetime Earnings: Evidence from a Cohort Study," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(1), pages 14-28, March.
    31. Devin G. Pope & Justin R. Sydnor, 2011. "What’s in a Picture?: Evidence of Discrimination from Prosper.com," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(1), pages 53-92.
    32. Solnick, Sara J. & Schweitzer, Maurice E., 1999. "The Influence of Physical Attractiveness and Gender on Ultimatum Game Decisions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 199-215, September.
    33. Amanda Pallais, 2014. "Inefficient Hiring in Entry-Level Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(11), pages 3565-3599, November.
    34. Jeff Borland & Andrew Leigh, 2014. "Unpacking the Beauty Premium: What Channels Does It Operate Through, and Has It Changed Over Time?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 90(288), pages 17-32, March.
    35. Jefferson Duarte & Stephan Siegel & Lance Young, 2012. "Trust and Credit: The Role of Appearance in Peer-to-peer Lending," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 25(8), pages 2455-2484.
    36. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:tpr:restat:v:101:y:2019:i:4:p:602-615 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd Stinebrickner & Paul Sullivan, 2019. "Beauty, Job Tasks, and Wages: A New Conclusion about Employer Taste-Based Discrimination," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 101(4), pages 602-615, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Beauty premium; Discrimination; Economic experiments; Labor markets;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:116:y:2015:i:c:p:331-345. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.