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Beauty, Productivity, and Discrimination: Lawyers' Looks and Lucre

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  • Biddle, Jeff E
  • Hamermesh, Daniel S

Abstract

The authors propose models with an ascriptive characteristic generating earnings differentials and causing sectoral sorting, allowing them to distinguish among sources producing such differentials. They use longitudinal data on a large sample of graduates from one law school and measure beauty by rating matriculation photographs. Better-looking attorneys who graduated in the 1970s earned more than others after five years of practice, an effect that grew with experience. Attorneys in the private sector are better-looking than those in the public sector, differences that rise with age. These results support theories of dynamic sorting and customer behavior. Copyright 1998 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:16:y:1998:i:1:p:172-201
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. George Baker & Michael Gibbs & Bengt Holmstrom, 1994. "The Wage Policy of a Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 921-955.
    2. Rosen, Sherwin, 1992. "The Market for Lawyers," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(2), pages 215-246, October.
    3. O'Flaherty, Brendan & Siow, Aloysius, 1995. "Up-or-Out Rules in the Market for Lawyers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(4), pages 709-735, October.
    4. Sherwin Rosen, 1983. "A Note on Aggregation of Skills and Labor Quality," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(3), pages 425-431.
    5. Borjas, George J & Bronars, Stephen G, 1989. "Consumer Discrimination and Self-employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 581-605, June.
    6. James Heckman & Jose Scheinkman, 1987. "The Importance of Bundling in a Gorman-Lancaster Model of Earnings," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(2), pages 243-255.
    7. Wood, Robert G & Corcoran, Mary E & Courant, Paul N, 1993. "Pay Differences among the Highly Paid: The Male-Female Earnings Gap in Lawyers' Salaries," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(3), pages 417-441, July.
    8. William R. Johnson, 1978. "A Theory of Job Shopping," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 92(2), pages 261-277.
    9. Berger, Mark C, 1985. "The Effect of Cohort Size on Earnings Growth: A Reexamination of the Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 561-573, June.
    10. Goddeeris, John H, 1988. "Compensating Differentials and Self-selection: An Application to Lawyers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 411-428, April.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J19 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Other

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