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Daniel S Hamermesh has created a new kind of economics: "pulchrinomics," the economics of beauty. What discoveries most surprised you during your research? Firstly, that the effect of differences in looks on earnings were larger among men than among women. We explained this apparent anomaly by pointing to the fact that men have to work, so ugly guys are stuck getting jobs that pay them less than good-looking guys.

The other thing that initially surprised me was how much of the impact of beauty in so many areas of life could be thought about usefully with economic thinking. In the end, though, this turned out not to be so surprising, since beauty is scarce, and economics is about the impacts of scarcity. How would you define a "beautiful" person? How would you define an "ugly" person? We all tend to have similar, but undefined standards, so if you think someone is beautiful or ugly, most other people will be in pretty close agreement.

Are there societies in which beauty is not such a prevailing economic factor? There may be differences across countries. In all of them better-looking people earn more. And numerous studies for many countries have shown that better-looking people, women especially, find spouses who earn more. How can someone perceived as "ugly" overcome this disadvantage it brings?

And the only study on the subject shows for women in China that spending more on clothing, hair and cosmetics barely altered their perceived beauty.

What to do? Emphasize those things that you are good at—your intelligence, strength, nice personality. How do you feel about the conclusions you reach in the book? Overall, I feel good about this. Has writing this book changed your own personal grooming habits? Not at all—but I started working on this topic at age 49, already pretty set in my ways, and started working on the book at age What reaction have you received to your book?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, right-leaning radio and TV hosts did not like the idea of thinking about government protection for the ugly. To me the crucial question is whether we should think of beauty as productive, or as reflecting discrimination. US Edition U. Coronavirus News U. HuffPost Personal Video Horoscopes. Newsletters Coupons. Terms Privacy Policy. Part of HuffPost Entertainment.

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Dan Hamermesh Answers Your Questions About Beauty Pays

If this is your first time registering, please check your inbox for more information about the benefits of your Forbes account and what you can do next! Sarah Palin: How much have her looks helped her career? University of Texas labor economist Daniel Hamermesh has devoted a share of his career to the study of physical beauty and how it affects employment and earning potential. His broad point, that attractive people enjoy advantages in hiring and earning, will surprise no one. But some of the details packed inside this thoughtful and in some respects quirky and confounding book, are illuminating. Nevertheless, this volume supplies plenty of food for thought.


Does Beauty Really Pay?

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Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful

A lot of you chimed in with thoughtful questions about the relationship between success and beauty. As always, thanks to everyone for participating. That is my intuition but has anyone ever studied it? If you have another desirable characteristic, such as beauty, you might be more willing to indulge your tardy behavior. On pp.


13 Economic Facts About Beautiful People

Daniel S. Many of our ebooks are available through library electronic resources including these platforms:. 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.

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