Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful

Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful

by Daniel S. Hamermesh

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Overview

Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh

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 beautiful—and the not-so-beautiful—among 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691158174
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 04/21/2013
Pages: 232
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

Preface ix

PART I: Background to Beauty
Chapter I: The Economics of Beauty 3
Chapter II: In the Eye of the Beholder 11
Definitions of Beauty 11
Why Do Beauty Standards Matter? 18
How Do We Measure Human Beauty? 19
Do Observers Agree on Beauty? 24
Does Beauty Differ by Gender, Race, or Age? What Makes You Beautiful? 28
Can We Become More Beautiful? 32
The Stage Is Set 35

Part I I: Beauty on the Job: What and Why
Chapter III: Beauty and the Worker 39
The Central Questions 39
How Can Beauty Affect Earnings? 40
How Much More Do Good-Looking People Make? 42
Is Beauty the Real Cause? 51
Why Are Beauty Effects Smaller Among Women? 55
Do Beauty Effects Differ by Race? 58
Do Beauty Effects Differ by Age? 59
Compensating the Beauty-Damaged Worker? 61
Looks Matter for Workers 64
Chapter IV Beauty in Specific Occupations 66
Beauty and Choosing an Occupation 66
How Big Are Beauty Effects Where Beauty Might Matter? 72
How Big Are Beauty Effects Where Beauty Might Not Matter? 79
Sorting by Beauty 84

Chapter V: Beauty and the Employer 86
The Puzzles 86
Do Good-Looking Employees Raise Sales? 87
How Does Beauty Affect Profits? 92
How Can Companies Pay for Beauty and Survive? 97
Do Companies with Better-Looking CEOs Perform Better? 98
Beauty Helps Companies—Probably 100

Chapter VI: Lookism or Productive Beauty, and Why? 102
What the Beauty Effect Means 102
How Can Beauty Effects Be Discrimination? 103
How Can Beauty Be Socially Productive? 108
What Are the Sources of Beauty Effects? 111
What Is the Direct Evidence on the Sources? 114
The Importance of Beauty 121

Part I I I: Beauty in Love, Loans, and Law
Chapter VII: Beauty in Markets for Friends, Family, and Funds 125
Beyond the Labor Market 125
How Is Beauty Exchanged? 126
How Does Beauty Affect Group Formation? 128
How Does Beauty Affect Dating? 130
How Does Beauty Affect Marriage? 135
Could There Be a Market for Beautiful Children? 141
Does Beauty Matter When You Borrow? 144
Trading Beauty in Unexpected Places 146

Chapter VIII: Legal Protection for the Ugly 148
Fairness and Public Policy 148
What Kinds of Protection Are Possible? 149
How Have Existing Policies Been Used? 154
Is It Possible to Protect the Ugly? 156
What Justifies Protecting the Ugly? 160
What Justifies Not Protecting the Ugly? 163
What Is an Appropriate Policy? 166
Protecting the Ugly in the Near Future 168

Part I V: The Future of Looks
Chapter IX Prospects for the Looks-Challenged 171
The Beauty Conundrum 173
Are Beautiful People Happier? 173
What Will Be Beautiful? What Should Be? 175
What Can Society Do? 177
What Can You Do If You’re Bad-Looking? 178

Notes 181
Index 203

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Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful 2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sergevansteenkiste More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago