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"Beauty Is the Promise of Happiness"?

Author

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  • Hamermesh, Daniel S.

    () (Barnard College)

  • Abrevaya, Jason

    () (University of Texas at Austin)

Abstract

We measure the impact of individuals' looks on their life satisfaction or happiness. Using five data sets from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Germany, we construct beauty measures in different ways that allow putting a lower bound on the true effects of beauty on happiness. Personal beauty raises happiness, with a one standard-deviation change in beauty generating about 0.10 standard deviations of additional satisfaction/happiness among men, 0.12 among women. Accounting for a wide variety of covariates, including those that might be affected by differences in beauty, and particularly effects in the labor and marriage markets, the impact among men is more than halved, among women slightly less than halved. The majority of the effect of beauty on happiness may work through its effects on economic outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Abrevaya, Jason, 2011. ""Beauty Is the Promise of Happiness"?," IZA Discussion Papers 5600, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5600
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    Cited by:

    1. Ad. J. W. van de Gevel & Charles N. Noussair, 2013. "The Nexus between Artificial Intelligence and Economics," SpringerBriefs in Economics, Springer, edition 127, number 978-3-642-33648-5.
    2. Hani Mansour & Terra McKinnish, 2011. "Who Marries Differently-Aged Spouses?: Earnings, Ability and Appearance," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1123, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Resul Cesur & Naci H. Mocan, 2013. "Does Secular Education Impact Religiosity, Electoral Participation and the Propensity to Vote for Islamic Parties? Evidence from an Education Reform in a Muslim Country," NBER Working Papers 19769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Berggren, Niclas & Jordahl, Henrik & Poutvaara, Panu, 2017. "The right look: Conservative politicians look better and voters reward it," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 79-86.
    5. repec:eee:jjieco:v:44:y:2017:i:c:p:1-12 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Sonia Oreffice & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2014. "Attractiveness, Anthropometry or Both? Their Relationship and Role in Economic Research," Working Papers 2014.106, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    7. Oreffice, Sonia & Quintana-Domeque, Climent, 2016. "Beauty, body size and wages: Evidence from a unique data set," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 24-34.
    8. Olivier Gergaud & Victor Ginsburgh & florine f. Livat, 2016. "Looking Good and Looking Smart," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2016-28, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    9. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Kawaguchi, Daiji & Lee, Jungmin, 2017. "Does labor legislation benefit workers? Well-being after an hours reduction," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 1-12.
    10. Astghik Mavisakalyan, 2016. "Looks matter: Attractiveness and employment in the former soviet union," Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre Working Paper series WP1604, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    life satisfaction; measurement error; looks;

    JEL classification:

    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • C20 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - General

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