IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Who is the fairest of them all? The independent effect of attractive features and self-perceived attractiveness on cooperation among women


  • Munoz-Reyes, J. A.
  • Pita, M.
  • Arjona, M.
  • Sanchez-Pages, S.
  • Turiegano, E.


The present paper analyzes the extent to which attractiveness-related variables affect cooperative behavior in women. Cooperativeness is evaluated through a Prisoner's Dilemma Game (PDG). We consider several morphometric variables related to attractiveness: Fluctuating Asymmetry (FA), Waist-Hip Ratio (WHR, Body Mass Index (BMI) and Facial Femininity (FF). These variables have been shown to predict human behavior. We also include as a control variable a score for Self-Perceived Attractiveness (SPA). We test differences in these variables according to behavior in the PDG. Our results reveal that low FA women cooperate less frequently in the PDG. We also find that women with lower WHR are more cooperative. This result contradicts the expected relation between WHR and behavior in the PDG. We show that this effect of WHR on cooperation operates through its influence on the expectation that participants hold on the cooperative intent of their counterpart. In addition, we show that the effect of attractive features on cooperation occurs independently of the participants' perception of their own appeal. Finally, we discuss our results in the context of the evolution of cooperative behavior and under the hypothesis that attractiveness is a reliable indicator of phenotypic quality.

Suggested Citation

  • Munoz-Reyes, J. A. & Pita, M. & Arjona, M. & Sanchez-Pages, S. & Turiegano, E., 2013. "Who is the fairest of them all? The independent effect of attractive features and self-perceived attractiveness on cooperation among women," SIRE Discussion Papers 2013-70, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  • Handle: RePEc:edn:sirdps:502

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dawes, Robyn M & Thaler, Richard H, 1988. "Anomalies: Cooperation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 187-197, Summer.
    2. repec:dgr:uvatin:20110046 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Santiago Sanchez-Pages, 2013. "Two Studies on the Interplay between Social Preferences and Individual Biological Features," ESE Discussion Papers 218, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
    4. Pearson, Matthew & Schipper, Burkhard C., 2013. "Menstrual cycle and competitive bidding," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 1-20.
    5. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    6. Santiago Sanchez-Pages & Enrique Turiegano, 2009. "Testosterone, Facial Symmetry and Cooperation in the Prisoners' Dilemma," ESE Discussion Papers 192, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
    7. Buser, Thomas, 2012. "Digit ratios, the menstrual cycle and social preferences," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 457-470.
    8. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-474, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Cooperation; Attractiveness; Fluctuating asymmetry; Waist-hip ratio; Body 46 Mass Index; Facial Femininity;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:edn:sirdps:502. 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: (Research Office). General contact details of provider: .

    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.