Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful

Princeton University Press
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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 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.

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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.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Aug 2, 2011
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Pages
232
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ISBN
9781400839445
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Business Ethics
Business & Economics / Careers / General
Business & Economics / Economics / Theory
Business & Economics / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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"It hurts to be beautiful" has been a cliche for centuries. What has been far less appreciated is how much it hurts not to be beautiful. The Beauty Bias explores our cultural preoccupation with attractiveness, the costs it imposes, and the responses it demands. Beauty may be only skin deep, but the damages associated with its absence go much deeper. Unattractive individuals are less likely to be hired and promoted, and are assumed less likely to have desirable traits, such as goodness, kindness, and honesty. Three quarters of women consider appearance important to their self image and over a third rank it as the most important factor. Although appearance can be a significant source of pleasure, its price can also be excessive, not only in time and money, but also in physical and psychological health. Our annual global investment in appearance totals close to $200 billion. Many individuals experience stigma, discrimination, and related difficulties, such as eating disorders, depression, and risky dieting and cosmetic procedures. Women bear a vastly disproportionate share of these costs, in part because they face standards more exacting than those for men, and pay greater penalties for falling short. The Beauty Bias explores the social, biological, market, and media forces that have contributed to appearance-related problems, as well as feminism's difficulties in confronting them. The book also reviews why it matters. Appearance-related bias infringes fundamental rights, compromises merit principles, reinforces debilitating stereotypes, and compounds the disadvantages of race, class, and gender. Yet only one state and a half dozen localities explicitly prohibit such discrimination. The Beauty Bias provides the first systematic survey of how appearance laws work in practice, and a compelling argument for extending their reach. The book offers case histories of invidious discrimination and a plausible legal and political strategy for addressing them. Our prejudices run deep, but we can do far more to promote realistic and healthy images of attractiveness, and to reduce the price of their pursuit.
Originally presented at a Conference on Labor in Nonprofit Industry and Government held at Princeton University, these studies are the first to provide an economic discussion of the public sector labor market.

Melvin Reder examines the effect of the absence of the profit motive on employment and wage determination in the public sector. Orley Ashenfelter and Ronald Ehrenberg estimate the elasticities of demand for various types of labor employed by state and local governments. Theoretical ideas about behavior in nonprofit industries are employed by Richard Freeman to study the higher education industry.

John Burton and Charles Krider try to predict the incidence of strikes in the public sector, while Donald Frey presents a model of the behavior of school boards in hiring faculty. The magnitude of the extra wage received by unionized public employees is compared by Daniel Hamermesh to that of private unionized workers in the same occupation.

Originally published in 1975.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

Originally presented at a Conference on Labor in Nonprofit Industry and Government held at Princeton University, these studies are the first to provide an economic discussion of the public sector labor market.

Melvin Reder examines the effect of the absence of the profit motive on employment and wage determination in the public sector. Orley Ashenfelter and Ronald Ehrenberg estimate the elasticities of demand for various types of labor employed by state and local governments. Theoretical ideas about behavior in nonprofit industries are employed by Richard Freeman to study the higher education industry.

John Burton and Charles Krider try to predict the incidence of strikes in the public sector, while Donald Frey presents a model of the behavior of school boards in hiring faculty. The magnitude of the extra wage received by unionized public employees is compared by Daniel Hamermesh to that of private unionized workers in the same occupation.

Originally published in 1975.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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