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Beauty, Underage Drinking, and Adolescent Risky Behaviours


  • Green, Colin P.

    (Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU))

  • Wilson, Luke B.

    (University of Sheffield)

  • Zhang, Anwen

    (University of Glasgow)


Physically attractive individuals experience a range of advantages in adulthood including higher earnings; yet, how attractiveness influences earlier consequential decisions is not well understood. This paper estimates the effect of attractiveness on engagement in risky behaviours in adolescence. We find marked effects across a range of risky behaviours with notable contrasts. More attractive adolescents are more likely to engage in underage drink- ing; while they are less likely to smoke, use drugs, or practice unprotected sex. Investigation into the underlying channels reveals that popularity, self-esteem, and personality attractiveness have roles as mechanisms. Our findings suggest physical attractiveness in adolescence carries long-lasting consequences over the life course.

Suggested Citation

  • Green, Colin P. & Wilson, Luke B. & Zhang, Anwen, 2022. "Beauty, Underage Drinking, and Adolescent Risky Behaviours," IZA Discussion Papers 15106, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp15106

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Adamopoulou, Effrosyni & Kaya, Ezgi, 2024. "Beautiful inside and out: Peer characteristics and academic performance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 217(C), pages 507-532.

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    More about this item


    beauty; risky behaviours; adolescent development;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General

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