Analysis of the effects of beauty is by now a well-established area of research ineconomics.
Beginning with the seminal work of Hamermesh and Biddle (1994) on theCanadian and US labour markets, several studies have shown that more attractive peopleearn higher hourly wages. This appears to be true in labour markets as diverse as Britain(Harper 2000) and Shanghai (Hamermesh, Meng and Zhan 2002), and within occupationsincluding attorneys (Biddle and Hamermesh 1998), sales assistants (Sachsida et al., 2003)and NFL quarterbacks (Berri et al., 2011).Beauty effects have also been found in other domains. For example, beautiful people tendto be happier (Hamermesh and Abrevaya, 2012), more likely to be successful in solicitingcharitable donations (Landry et al. 2006), are more likely to raise revenues of their firms(Pfann et al. 2000), have a better chance of being elected into parliament (Berggren et al.,2006; Klein and Rosar 2005; King and Leigh 2009), do better on TV game shows (Belotet al, 2012), have higher earnings as prostitutes (Arunachalam and Shah 2008), and areless likely to become criminals (Mocan and Tekin, 2010).Our study extends this international literature on the effects of beauty in two importantways, using data from surveys of the Australian population undertaken in 1984 and 2009.First, we broaden the analysis of the effects of beauty beyond the labour market. We dothis by investigating the association between beauty and total household income, as wellas the individual components of household income.
Second, we examine the stabilityof the returns to beauty across time; specifically, whether the effects of beauty change between the survey dates.Our objective in extending the analysis of the effects of beauty to household income andits components is to provide a broader perspective on where beauty matters and on thewelfare implications of attractiveness. For example, if discrimination (what Hamermeshhas referred to as ‘lookism’) causes more attractive people to earn higher wages, it might2