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Thread: The Effects of Beauty on Success

  1. #1
    null Array Jonny's Avatar
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    Sep 2009

    Default The Effects of Beauty on Success

    BEAUTY AND THE LABOR MARKET - By Daniel S. Hamermesh and Jeff E. Biddle

    Using data obtained from three independent studies (two in the United States and one in Canada), economists Daniel Hamermesh and Jeff Biddle present evidence of the statistically significant effect of one's personal beauty on his or her earnings. As support for their analysis they begin by addressing the issue of whether or not beauty can be effectively quantified and estimated by individuals within a society, and whether or not a society's beauty preferences remain sufficiently static over one's lifetime so that there will be relative consistency in rating over time: "... within a culture at a point in time there is tremendous agreement on standards of beauty, and these standards change quite slowly" (p. 1175). They go on to present the structure of their analysis wherein they seek to "determine whether standard earnings equations yield evidence of pay difference based on looks" (p. 1179) and "examine the extent of labor-market sorting by looks" (p.1179).

    At the heart of the paper is an analysis of the data from the three studies. They first present a preliminary regression which seems to indicate that there is a significant impact of beauty on wages. They then address possible issues with the regression, such as idiosyncratic ratings by particular interviewers, omitted-variable bias, simultaneity problems, etc., providing evidence of non-issue and consecutive, adjusted regressions with each issue addressed. What results from this critical analysis is a reinforcement of the initial findings that "people who are better-looking receive higher pay, while bad-looking people earn less than average, other things equal" (p. 1187).

    From these findings they note of particular interest the similarity between genders, suggesting that if anything the wages of men are affected at least as much by looks as the wages of women. However, one difference between the genders which does present itself in the data, according to Hamermesh and Biddle, is that a woman's looks will impact her very entrance into the labor market, and the economic effects of her looks extend beyond the labor market into what they call the marriage market: unlike their male counterparts, a woman's beauty is positively correlated with the potential earnings abilities of her husband.

    The final part of the paper deals with establishing whether the effects of beauty on wages is a result of the productivity afforded by beauty, or whether it is a result of discrimination by employers. By categorizing industries where appearance is an obvious economic benefit (customer service, food service, sales) from those industries where there is no obvious economic benefit, they establish that there is indeed a robust effect on wages independent of industry, but that "beauty may be productive in some occupations perhaps as a result of customers' preferences" (p. 1192).

    I am curious about:

    1) Your opinion of the article if you choose to read it; and
    2) Your experiences with the effects beauty has on earnings


  2. #2
    Mr. Blue Array entropie's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    3w2 so


    If you think about the fact that in some places in our World a human life is still measured by the amount of money he has, like in a hospital or in poorer areas of the World; what did you expect when learning about beautiful people getting faster forward than not so beautiful.

    It's even worse than that, if you go in the circles of business people, you are evaluated by the clothes and status symbols you are wearing. Those things directly reflect on the company you are representing.

    There's an old german book called "The Captain of Koeppenick". Its about a guy who freshly got out of prison and now looks for an opportunity to start a new life. He finds a captain uniform hanging for drying and steals it. Then he puts its on an goes into the town of Koeppenick, in which a group of soldiers i waiting for their new captain. He says that he's that and starts running around with them in the country being celebrated in every town. He does that tho he absolutely has no military training or whatsoever.

    This book is a metaphor for how the costume your wearing or the beauty you have can get you things, you logically dont deserve. It's ridicioulus but people are exactly as dumb as that :/
    Johari / Nohari

    "How dreadful!" cried Lord Henry. "I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect."
    ~ Oscar Wilde - The picture of Dorian Gray

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