Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The ugliness penalty - worse for men

Hattip to reddit. Looks affect your earning potential. I have certainly heard that one before, apparently it affects men even more so. Consider me surprised. An article about Daniel S. Hamermesh book Beauty Pays:

[Beauty Pays] attempts to explain why attractive people make more money than unattractive people. A lot more money, in fact: $230,000 over the course of a lifetime, which holds true even in professions where looks wouldn’t seem to matter. Hamermesh found that fetching professors, for example, earn 6 percent more than their average-looking peers, while unattractive quarterbacks earn 12 percent less than their hunkier counterparts. Men, in fact, suffer the greater repulsiveness penalty in general: Unattractive women earn 3 percent less than average-looking women, while unattractive men’s take-home is reduced a whopping 22 percent.

But wait—how can something as subjective as beauty hold any value in an economic context? Therein lies the cold truth at the heart of these findings: A common standard of beauty does exist. Based on an attractiveness scale of one to five, most people surveyed will come to near agreement on a test subject’s looks, a finding that holds true across all cultures. And while extreme beauty and extreme ugliness are rare, 10 to 15 percent or so of the population falls into the “below-average attractiveness” category, where they will endure their pronounced asymmetries as long as they live. Beauty is not only scarce, it turns out, but unobtainable to those born without it: Studies show that homeliness is approximately as easy to change as race, which is to say, it’s not.

Interesting. Also an older study by Hamermesh google dug out.

1 comment:

  1. Beauty also correlates with good genetics (that's why such a standard exists), attractive people are more likely to be intelligent, well adjusted and physically healthy. In fact, the whole 'nerds are ugly' really only exists in the Anglosphere, Southern and Eastern Europe and Asia don't have that trope at all (Japan = American province).