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Most of us know there is a payoff to looking good, and in the quest for beauty we spend countless hours and billions of dollars on personal grooming, cosmetics, and plastic surgery. But how much better off are the better looking? Based on the evidence, quite a lot. The first book to seriously measure the advantages of beauty, Beauty Pays demonstrates how society favors the beautiful and how better-looking people experience startling but undeniable benefits in all aspects of life. Noted economist Daniel Hamermesh shows that the attractive are more likely to be employed, work more productively and profitably, receive more substantial pay, obtain loan approvals, negotiate loans with better terms, and have more handsome and highly educated spouses. Hamermesh explains why this happens and what it means for the beautifuland the not-so-beautifulamong us.
Exploring whether a universal standard of beauty exists, Hamermesh illustrates how attractive workers make more money, how these amounts differ by gender, and how looks are valued differently based on profession. He considers whether extra pay for good-looking people represents discrimination, and, if so, who is discriminating. Hamermesh investigates the commodification of beauty in dating and how this influences the search for intelligent or high-earning mates, and even examines whether government programs should aid the ugly. He also discusses whether the economic benefits of beauty will persist into the foreseeable future and what the "looks-challenged" can do to overcome their disadvantage.
Reflecting on a sensitive issue that touches everyone, Beauty Pays proves that beauty's rewards are anything but superficial.
|Publisher:||Princeton University Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Daniel S. Hamermesh is the Sue Killam Professor in the Foundations of Economics at the University of Texas, Austin, and professor of economics at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Table of Contents
PART I: Background to BeautyChapter I: The Economics of Beauty 3Chapter II: In the Eye of the Beholder 11Definitions of Beauty 11Why Do Beauty Standards Matter? 18How Do We Measure Human Beauty? 19Do Observers Agree on Beauty? 24Does Beauty Differ by Gender, Race, or Age? What Makes You Beautiful? 28Can We Become More Beautiful? 32The Stage Is Set 35
Part I I: Beauty on the Job: What and WhyChapter III: Beauty and the Worker 39The Central Questions 39How Can Beauty Affect Earnings? 40How Much More Do Good-Looking People Make? 42Is Beauty the Real Cause? 51Why Are Beauty Effects Smaller Among Women? 55Do Beauty Effects Differ by Race? 58Do Beauty Effects Differ by Age? 59Compensating the Beauty-Damaged Worker? 61Looks Matter for Workers 64Chapter IV Beauty in Specific Occupations 66Beauty and Choosing an Occupation 66How Big Are Beauty Effects Where Beauty Might Matter? 72How Big Are Beauty Effects Where Beauty Might Not Matter? 79Sorting by Beauty 84
Chapter V: Beauty and the Employer 86The Puzzles 86Do Good-Looking Employees Raise Sales? 87How Does Beauty Affect Profits? 92How Can Companies Pay for Beauty and Survive? 97Do Companies with Better-Looking CEOs Perform Better? 98Beauty Helps CompaniesProbably 100
Chapter VI: Lookism or Productive Beauty, and Why? 102What the Beauty Effect Means 102How Can Beauty Effects Be Discrimination? 103How Can Beauty Be Socially Productive? 108What Are the Sources of Beauty Effects? 111What Is the Direct Evidence on the Sources? 114The Importance of Beauty 121
Part I I I: Beauty in Love, Loans, and LawChapter VII: Beauty in Markets for Friends, Family, and Funds 125Beyond the Labor Market 125How Is Beauty Exchanged? 126How Does Beauty Affect Group Formation? 128How Does Beauty Affect Dating? 130How Does Beauty Affect Marriage? 135Could There Be a Market for Beautiful Children? 141Does Beauty Matter When You Borrow? 144Trading Beauty in Unexpected Places 146
Chapter VIII: Legal Protection for the Ugly 148Fairness and Public Policy 148What Kinds of Protection Are Possible? 149How Have Existing Policies Been Used? 154Is It Possible to Protect the Ugly? 156What Justifies Protecting the Ugly? 160What Justifies Not Protecting the Ugly? 163What Is an Appropriate Policy? 166Protecting the Ugly in the Near Future 168
Part I V: The Future of LooksChapter IX Prospects for the Looks-Challenged 171The Beauty Conundrum 173Are Beautiful People Happier? 173What Will Be Beautiful? What Should Be? 175What Can Society Do? 177What Can You Do If You’re Bad-Looking? 178
Notes 181Index 203
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Daniel Hamermesh concentrates his attention on the economics of one's beauty, especially the impact of looks on earnings. This tour of horizon is ultimately unsatisfactory due to the weaknesses of the data set used, especially in Parts I and II of the book under review. This observation is counterintuitive due to the abundance of research that Mr. Hamermesh mentions in his notes. The data used is often either too old and/or limited to assess the exact extent of the undeniable effects of beauty on economics. For example, the author relies on data from the 1970s to calculate the percentage impacts of looks on earnings in the U.S. (pp. 45; 49). Other examples include the impact of better-looking CEOs (pp. 97; 99) or the extremely sparse case law in the jurisdictions that ban discrimination based on looks (p. 156). To his credit, Mr. Hamermesh acknowledges the limitations of these studies. Furthermore, some topics addressed in the book under review have not been the subject of any systematic study. Think for example about the impact of beauty during a recession or the impact of employees' beauty in boosting sales for a profit-making organization (pp. 50; 90). In summary, the evidence provided is too often piecemeal to accurately estimate the undeniable impact of beauty on economics.