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Business Success and Businesses' Beauty Capital

  • Ciska M. Bosman
  • Gerard Pfann
  • Jeff E. Biddle
  • Daniel S. Hamermesh

We examine whether a difference in pay for beauty is supported by different productivity of people according to looks. Using a sample of advertising firms, we find that those firms with better-looking executives have higher revenues and faster growth than do otherwise identical firms whose executives are not so good-looking. The impact on revenue far exceeds the likely effect of beauty on the executives' wages. This suggests that their beauty creates firm-specific investments, in the form of improved relationships within work groups, the returns to which are shared by the firm and the executive.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6083.

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Date of creation: Jul 1997
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as "Business success and businesses' beauty capital" Economics Letters, Vol 93, 3 (December 2006) Pages 201-207 Gerard A. Pfann, Jeff E. Biddle, Daniel S. Hamermesh and Ciska M. Bosman
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6083
Note: LS
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  1. 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.
  2. Audretsch, David B & Mahmood, Talat, 1995. "New Firm Survival: New Results Using a Hazard Function," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(1), pages 97-103, February.
  3. Masanori Hashimoto & Ben T. Yu, 1980. "Specific Capital, Employmemt Contracts, and Wage Rigidity," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 11(2), pages 536-549, Autumn.
  4. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Meng, Xin & Zhang, Junsen, 2002. "Dress for success--does primping pay?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 361-373, July.
  5. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Bruce Johnson, W. & Magee, Robert P. & Nagarajan, Nandu J. & Newman, Harry A., 1985. "An analysis of the stock price reaction to sudden executive deaths : Implications for the managerial labor market," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1-3), pages 151-174, April.
  7. Hashimoto, Masanori, 1981. "Firm-Specific Human Capital as a Shared Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 475-82, June.
  8. Welch, F, 1970. "Education in Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(1), pages 35-59, Jan.-Feb..
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