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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 of Labor Economics (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.
    2. Riach, Peter A & Rich, Judith, 1991. "Testing for Racial Discrimination in the Labour Market," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 239-256, September.
    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-UAH Working Papers inv204, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Business.
    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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    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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