IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/eca/wpaper/2013-231720.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Looking Good and Looking Smart

Author

Listed:
  • Olivier Gergaud
  • Victor Ginsburgh
  • florine Livat

Abstract

We analyze the link existing between perceived intelligence and perceived beauty. Here, perceived beauty encompasses a set of personal characteristics as suggested by Hakim’s (2010) erotic capital that allows to consider human capital in a broad sense including several dimensions of attractiveness and attitude and not only facial cues. The analysis is based on original survey data collected and compiled by Epoll Market Research that provides thorough information on how 3,620 American celebrities are perceived by a representative sample of the American population. These celebrities are prominent people in fields like cinema, sports, music, business, politics, etc. We correlate intelligence scores with scores on eleven available physical attributes linked with physical beauty (attractive, beautiful, charming, classy, cute, exciting, glamorous, handsome, physically fit, sexy, and stylish). Results show that being judged classy or charming is positively associated with intelligence whereas looking cute, physically fit, or sexy sends a negative signal about cognitive skills. Since pictures of celebrities are also shown (at random) at half of the participants of the surveys, we can also draw causal inferences on how this “natural experiment” changes perception and correlations.

Suggested Citation

  • Olivier Gergaud & Victor Ginsburgh & florine Livat, 2016. "Looking Good and Looking Smart," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2016-28, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:eca:wpaper:2013/231720
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://dipot.ulb.ac.be/dspace/bitstream/2013/231720/3/2016-28-GERGAUD_GINSBURGH_LIVAT-looking.pdf
    File Function: Full text for the whole work, or for a work part
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Morris, Stephen, 2007. "The impact of obesity on employment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 413-433, June.
    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. 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.
    5. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Abrevaya, Jason, 2013. "Beauty is the promise of happiness?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 351-368.
    6. Soohyung Lee & Keunkwan Ryu, 2012. "Plastic Surgery: Investment in Human Capital or Consumption?," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(3), pages 224-250.
    7. 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.
    8. Gordon, Ian R., 2015. "Ambition, human capital acquisition and the metropolitan escalator," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 50995, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    9. Amy King & Andrew Leigh, 2009. "Beautiful Politicians," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 579-593, November.
    10. Edward C. Norton & Euna Han, 2008. "Genetic information, obesity, and labor market outcomes," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(9), pages 1089-1104.
    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. Brunello, Giorgio & D'Hombres, Beatrice, 2007. "Does body weight affect wages?: Evidence from Europe," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 1-19, March.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. Ian R. Gordon, 2015. "Ambition, Human Capital Acquisition and the Metropolitan Escalator," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(6), pages 1042-1055, June.
    17. Andreas Schick & Richard H. Steckel, 2015. "Height, Human Capital, and Earnings: The Contributions of Cognitive and Noncognitive Ability," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 94-115.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    perceived beauty cues; perceived intelligence; celebrities; natural experiment; survey data;

    JEL classification:

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

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:eca:wpaper:2013/231720. 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: (Benoit Pauwels). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/arulbbe.html .

    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.