Can Beauty Boost Your Paycheck?

Amanda Elser

Apparently, it pays to be beautiful. It is a horrible thing to think in our day-and-age when everyone should be treated equal, but it is the exact argument that University of Texas labor economist Daniel Hamermesh makes in his book Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful (Princeton University Press, $25).

We won’t bore you with Hamermesh’s roundabout and less than accurate calculations, but what it comes down to is that people with a beautiful face have an advantage over those who have features less physically appealing. Not exactly groundbreaking, and most of us could have figured this out on our own, but Hamermesh introduces us to the term “pulchronomics,” or the economics of beauty.

Using data dating back to the 1970s, Hamermesh concludes that below-average-looking men earn 17% less than those considered good-looking, and below-average-looking females earn 12% less than attractive peers.

An interesting tidbit that he did state; however, was that the difference in income between beauty and height/weight was minimal, meaning that a pretty face is a pretty face and whether the body is overweight or short does not make that noticeable of a difference when it comes to your paycheck.

There is still hope for all of the non-6 foot, leggy blonds like me, Hamermesh said the advantage is minimal, and that there is room for your income to catch-up.

So next time you are debating on buying that expensive foundation, justify it as a financial investment in your future.

Does Beauty Really Pay? (Forbes)