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Attraction and cooperative behavior

  • Donja Darai
  • Silvia Grätz

Being good-looking seems to generate substantial benefits in many social interactions, making the "beauty premium" a not to be underrated economic factor. This paper investigates how physical attractiveness enables people to generate these benefits in the case of cooperation, using field data from a modified one-shot prisoner's dilemma played in a high-stakes television game show. While attractive contestants are not more or less cooperative than less attractive ones, facial attractiveness produces more cooperative behavior by counterparts, but only in mixed-gender interactions. Effects of attractiveness are therefore not exclusively due to "beauty-is-good" stereotyping, but rather operate through a preference-based mechanism.

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File URL: http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp/econwp082.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics - University of Zurich in its series ECON - Working Papers with number 082.

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Date of creation: Jun 2012
Date of revision: Dec 2012
Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:082
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  1. Belot, Michèle & Bhaskar, V. & van de Ven, Jeroen, 2010. "Promises and cooperation: Evidence from a TV game show," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 396-405, March.
  2. Donja Darai & Silvia Grätz, 2010. "Determinants of Successful Cooperation in a Face-to-Face Social Dilemma," SOI - Working Papers 1006, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich, revised Nov 2010.
  3. Rosenblat, Tanya, 2008. "The Beauty Premium: Physical Attractiveness and Gender in Dictator Games," Staff General Research Papers 13001, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  4. Edward C. Norton & Hua Wang & Chunrong Ai, 2004. "Computing interaction effects and standard errors in logit and probit models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(2), pages 154-167, June.
  5. Markus M. Mobius & Tanya S. Rosenblat, 2006. "Why Beauty Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 222-235, March.
  6. Berggren, Niclas & Jordahl, Henrik & Poutvaara, Panu, 2010. "The looks of a winner: Beauty and electoral success," Munich Reprints in Economics 20267, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  7. James Andreoni & Ragan Petrie, 2005. "Beauty, Gender and Stereotypes: Evidence from Laboratory Experiments," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2006-22, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  8. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2010. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232588, June.
  9. John A. List, 2006. "Friend or Foe? A Natural Experiment of the Prisoner's Dilemma," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 463-471, August.
  10. Bradley J. Ruffle & Ze’ev Shtudiner, 2010. "Are Good-Looking People More Employable?," Working Papers 1006, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
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