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Beauty, Job Tasks, and Wages: A New Conclusion about Employer Taste-Based Discrimination

Author

Listed:
  • Ralph Stinebrickner

    (Berea College)

  • Todd Stinebrickner

    (University of Western Ontario and NBER)

  • Paul Sullivan

    (American University)

Abstract

Using novel data from the Berea Panel Study, we show that the beauty wage premium for college graduates exists only in jobs where attractiveness is plausibly a productive characteristic. A large premium exists in jobs with substantial amounts of interpersonal interaction but not in jobs that require working with information. This finding is inconsistent with employer taste-based discrimination, which would favor attractive workers in all jobs. Unique task data address concerns that measurement error in the importance of interpersonal tasks may bias empirical work toward finding employer discrimination. Our conclusions are in stark contrast to the findings of existing research.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:101:y:2019:i:4:p:602-615
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Thesis Thursday: Luke Wilson
      by Chris Sampson in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2019-10-17 06:00:57

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    Cited by:

    1. Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd Stinebrickner & Paul Sullivan, 2019. "Job Tasks, Time Allocation, and Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(2), pages 399-433.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination

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