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Success: talent, intelligence or beauty ?


  • GERGAUD, Olivier

    () (Université de Reims (Troyes Institute of Technology) and Reims Management School, France)

  • GINSBURGH, Victor

    () (Université Libre de Bruxelles, ECARES, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium and Université catholique de Louvain, CORE, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium)


We analyze the Celebrity 100 annual list of the world’s most “powerful celebrities” compiled and published by Forbes Magazine. The lists provide an interesting collection of people, that includes their earnings, and the perception of citizens concerning the attributes that made them become celebrities. We analyze the relationship between their earnings and the perceptions on their intelligence, talent, beauty and other attributes, and show that though beauty plays a role, intelligence and talent are more important.

Suggested Citation

  • GERGAUD, Olivier & GINSBURGH, Victor, 2010. "Success: talent, intelligence or beauty ?," CORE Discussion Papers 2010072, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2010072

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Price, Michael K., 2008. "Fund-raising success and a solicitor's beauty capital: Do blondes raise more funds?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 100(3), pages 351-354, September.
    3. 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.
    4. Pfann, Gerard A. & Biddle, Jeff E. & Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Bosman, Ciska M., 2000. "Business success and businesses' beauty capital," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 201-207, May.
    5. Johnston, David W., 2010. "Physical appearance and wages: Do blondes have more fun?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 10-12, July.
    6. Markus M. Mobius & Tanya S. Rosenblat, 2006. "Why Beauty Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 222-235, March.
    7. Vincenzo Verardi & Christophe Croux, 2009. "Robust regression in Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 9(3), pages 439-453, September.
    8. 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.
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    More about this item


    earnings; economic success; talent;

    JEL classification:

    • C4 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics


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