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.
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.
"Since the mid-nineties, Daniel Hamermesh . . . has done a series of studies on the role that appearance plays in the workplace, and his conclusion is captured by the title of his recent book, Beauty Pays. In the U.S., he finds, better-looking men earn four per cent more than average-looking men of similar education and experience, and uglier men earn thirteen per cent less. . . . Hamermesh finds that pulchritude is valuable in nearly all professions, not just those where good looks may seem to be an obvious asset."--Jim Surowiecki, New Yorker
"This chatty, economist's-eye-view of beauty in the marketplace provides solid statistical evidence that beauty does pay."--Publishers Weekly
"An extensive, dizzying compilation of economic data explaining 'why attractive people are more successful.' A 40-year veteran in the field of economics, Hamermesh examines the correlation between beauty and economics. . . . Fascinating."--Kirkus Reviews
"[A] no-warts-and-all exposé of how attractive people earn more, marry better and enjoy a wealth of positive discrimination."--Anjana Ahuja, Prospect
"Daniel Hamermesh . . . has long written about 'pulchronomics.' In Beauty Pays he reckons that, over a lifetime and assuming today's mean wages, a handsome working in America might on average make $230,000 more than a very plain one. There is evidence that attractive workers bring in more business, so it often makes sense for firms to hire them. Whether rewarding them accordingly--and paying their less attractive peers more stingily--is good for society is another matter."--Economist
Table of Contents
This book has been translated into:
- Chinese (Complex)
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Daniel S. Hamermesh: