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The Labor Market Return to an Attractive Face: Evidence from a Field Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • López Bóo, Florencia

    () (Inter-American Development Bank)

  • Rossi, Martín A.

    () (Universidad de San Andrés)

  • Urzua, Sergio

    () (University of Maryland)

Abstract

We provide new evidence on the link between beauty and hiring practices in the labor market. Specifically, we study if people with less attractive faces are less likely to be contacted after submitting a resume. Our empirical strategy is based on an experimental approach. We sent fictitious resumes with pictures of attractive and unattractive faces to real job openings in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We find that attractive people receive 36 percent more responses (callbacks) than unattractive people. Given the experimental design, this difference can be attributed to the exogenous manipulation of facial attractiveness of our fake job applicants.

Suggested Citation

  • López Bóo, Florencia & Rossi, Martín A. & Urzua, Sergio, 2012. "The Labor Market Return to an Attractive Face: Evidence from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 6356, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6356
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. French, Michael T. & Robins, Philip K. & Homer, Jenny F. & Tapsell, Lauren M., 2009. "Effects of physical attractiveness, personality, and grooming on academic performance in high school," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 373-382, August.
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    3. Markus M. Mobius & Tanya S. Rosenblat, 2006. "Why Beauty Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 222-235, March.
    4. 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.
    5. Dan-Olof Rooth, 2009. "Obesity, Attractiveness, and Differential Treatment in Hiring: A Field Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
    6. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994. "Beauty and the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1174-1194, December.
    7. Claudia Sanhueza & Rodrigo Bravo & Oscar Giusti, 2008. "La Belleza y su Efecto en el Mercado Laboral: Evidencia para Chile," ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers inv204, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines.
    8. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo & Maitreesh Ghatak & Jeanne Lafortune, 2013. "Marry for What? Caste and Mate Selection in Modern India," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 33-72, May.
    9. 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.
    10. Bradley J. Ruffle & Ze'ev Shtudiner, 2015. "Are Good-Looking People More Employable?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(8), pages 1760-1776, August.
    11. 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.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The Labor Market Return to an Attractive Face: Evidence from a Field Experiment
      by Maximo Rossi in Wikiprogress América Latina on 2012-03-05 23:41:00

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Galarza, Francisco B. & Yamada, Gustavo, 2014. "Labor Market Discrimination in Lima, Peru: Evidence from a Field Experiment," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 83-94.
    2. Busetta, Giovanni & Fiorillo, Fabio & Visalli, Emanuela, 2013. "Searching for a job is a beauty contest," MPRA Paper 49392, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Baert, Stijn, 2015. "Do They Find You on Facebook? Facebook Profile Picture and Hiring Chances," IZA Discussion Papers 9584, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Beam, Emily A. & Hyman, Joshua & Theoharides, Caroline, 2017. "The Relative Returns to Education, Experience, and Attractiveness for Young Workers," IZA Discussion Papers 10537, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Arai, Mahmood & Gartell, Marie & Rödin, Magnus & Özcan, Gülay, 2016. "Stereotypes of physical appearance and labor market chances," Working Paper Series 2016:20, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    6. Weichselbaumer, Doris, 2015. "Discrimination against Migrants in Austria: An Experimental Study," IZA Discussion Papers 9354, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Doorley, Karina & Sierminska, Eva, 2012. "Myth or Fact? The Beauty Premium across the Wage Distribution," IZA Discussion Papers 6674, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Arunachalam Raj & Shah Manisha, 2012. "The Prostitute's Allure: The Return to Beauty in Commercial Sex Work," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-27, December.
    9. Parrett, Matt, 2015. "Beauty and the feast: Examining the effect of beauty on earnings using restaurant tipping data," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 34-46.
    10. repec:cem:jaecon:v:20:y:2017:n:1:p:29-47 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Leda M. Pérez & Pedro Llanos Paredes, 2015. "¿Al fondo del escalafón?: un estado de la cuestión sobre el trabajo doméstico remunerado en el Perú," Working Papers 15-01, Centro de Investigación, Universidad del Pacífico.
    12. Eleonora Patacchini & Giuseppe Ragusa & Yves Zenou, 2015. "Unexplored dimensions of discrimination in Europe: homosexuality and physical appearance," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(4), pages 1045-1073, October.
    13. LIU Xing & SIERMINSKA Eva, 2014. "Evaluating the effect of beauty on labor market outcomes: A review of the literature," LISER Working Paper Series 2014-11, LISER.
    14. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:28:y:2018:i:c:p:38-52 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Francisco Galarza & Gustavo Yamada & Carlos Zelada, 2015. "Cuesta arriba para los afroperuanos: evidencia de la discriminación en el acceso al mercado laboral de Lima Metropolitana," Working Papers 15-03, Centro de Investigación, Universidad del Pacífico.
    16. Weichselbaumer, Doris, 2016. "Discrimination against Female Migrants Wearing Headscarves," IZA Discussion Papers 10217, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Francisco B. Galarza & Gustavo Yamada, 2017. "Triple penalty in employment access: The role of beauty, race, and sex," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 20, pages 29-47, May.
    18. Lee, Wang-Sheng, 2014. "Big and Tall: Is there a Height Premium or Obesity Penalty in the Labor Market?," IZA Discussion Papers 8606, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    19. Baert, Stijn, 2017. "Hiring Discrimination: An Overview of (Almost) All Correspondence Experiments Since 2005," IZA Discussion Papers 10738, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. 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.
    21. Eva Sierminska, 2015. "Does it pay to be beautiful?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 161-161, June.
    22. Michał Krawczyk & Magdalena Smyk, 2015. "Gender, beauty and support networks in academia: evidence from a field experiment," Working Papers 2015-43, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    23. Deryugina, Tatyana & Shurchkov, Olga, 2015. "Now you see it, now you don’t: The vanishing beauty premium," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 331-345.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    callback rates; labor market discrimination; facial attractiveness;

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J78 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Public Policy (including comparable worth)

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