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Is Beauty only Skin-deep? Disentangling the Beauty Premium on a Game Show

  • Michele Belot,


  • V. Bhaskar


  • Jeroen van de Ven


This paper analyzes behavior 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 than 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.

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Paper provided by University of Essex, Department of Economics in its series Economics Discussion Papers with number 624.

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Date of creation: 11 Jan 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:esx:essedp:624
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Order Information: Postal: Discussion Papers Administrator, Department of Economics, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester CO4 3SQ, U.K.

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  1. John A. List, 2006. "Friend or Foe? A Natural Experiment of the Prisoner's Dilemma," NBER Working Papers 12097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
  3. James Andreoni & Ragan Petrie, 2005. "Beauty, Gender and Stereotypes: Evidence from Laboratory Experiments," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2006-22, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  4. Steven D. Levitt, 2003. "Testing Theories of Discrimination: Evidence from "Weakest Link"," NBER Working Papers 9449, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Naci Mocan & Erdal Tekin, 2010. "Ugly Criminals," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(1), pages 15-30, February.
  6. John List, 2004. "Young, selfish, and male: Field evidence of social preferences," Natural Field Experiments 00298, The Field Experiments Website.
  7. Andreas Lange & Craig Landry & John List & Michael Price & Nicholas Rupp, 2006. "Toward an understanding of the economics of charity: Evidence from a field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00292, The Field Experiments Website.
  8. Michele Belot, & V. Bhaskar & Jeroen van de Ven, 2006. "A Public Dilemma: Cooperation with Large Stakes and a Large Audience," Economics Discussion Papers 617, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  9. 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.
  10. Nicola Persico & Andrew Postlewaite & Dan Silverman, 2004. "The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height," NBER Working Papers 10522, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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