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Insidious Discrimination? Disentangling the Beauty Premium on a Game Show

  • Belot, Michèle
  • Bhaskar, Venkataraman
  • Van de Ven, Jeroen

This paper analyzes behaviour on a TV game show where players' monetary payoffs depend upon an array of factors, including ability in answering questions, perceived cooperativeness and the willingness of other players to choose them. We find a substantial beauty premium and are able to disentangle contributing factors. Attractive players perform no differently from less attractive ones, on every dimension. They also exhibit and engender the same degree of cooperativeness. Nevertheless, attractive players are substantially less likely to be eliminated by their peers. Our results suggest a consumption value basis for the beauty premium, and it appears that this is a form of insidious discrimination.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6276.

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Date of creation: Apr 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6276
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  1. John A. List, 2004. "Young, Selfish and Male: Field evidence of social preferences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(492), pages 121-149, 01.
  2. Nicola Persico & Andrew Postlewaite & Dan Silverman, 2004. "The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 1019-1053, October.
  3. Steven D. Levitt, 2003. "Testing Theories of Discrimination: Evidence from "Weakest Link"," NBER Working Papers 9449, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  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. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance In Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074, August.
  8. Marianne Bertrand & Dolly Chugh & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2005. "Implicit Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 94-98, May.
  9. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
  10. Andreoni,J. & Petrie,R., 2004. "Beauty, gender and stereotypes : evidence from laboratory experiments," Working papers 6, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  11. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
  12. David Reiley & John List, 2008. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00091, The Field Experiments Website.
  13. 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.
  14. Joseph G. Altonji & Rebecca M. Blank, . "Race and Gender in the Labor Market," IPR working papers 98-18, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
  15. Kate Antonovics & Peter Arcidiacono & Randall Walsh, 2005. "Games and Discrimination: Lessons From The Weakest Link," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(4), pages 918-947.
  16. Paulo Guimaraes & Richard Lindrooth, 2005. "Dirichlet-Multinomial Regression," Econometrics 0509001, EconWPA.
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