Running head: WHY BEAUTY WORKS
Why Beauty works
Mohinder J. Deol
November 28, 2007
Science Daily (April 19, 2004). Physical beauty involves more than good looks. 16
It is disconcerting to find that the workplace is a beauty contest. Studies suggest that candidates who have the same qualifications and credentials are selected on their physical attractiveness over unattractive ones. This study shows the analysis in many areas where the beauty factors have helped individuals not only get a job, but also advance in their careers because of a beauty premium. Based on their confidence levels and oral communication skills employers wrongly consider physically attractive workers more able and productive. In many circumstances, positive attributes are assigned to an attractive individual, which has no bearing on their job performance.
Why Beauty Works
This paper will examine the economic effects on physical appearance in the workplace. Many studies have consistently found significant affects of physical appearance on the wage levels, job growth and bargaining power in male and female workers. Beauty plays a non-trivial role in people’s lives. For example, in 2004 in the United States, 9.2 million cosmetic surgery procedures were performed, representing a 5 percent increase over the previous year (“Advertising Age,” 2006, n.p.) and an approximate 118 percent increase since 1997 (Gerstung, 2005, n.p.). Researchers have identified that beauty plays a large part in all forms of discrimination, whether it is employer, employee, or customer discrimination. All the interest diverted into appearance is not just a sign of the times, but it is consistent with standards of beauty across cultures (Hamermesh and Biddle, 1994, p. 1175). Women have always used extreme measures to attain beauty, for instance, medieval women would apply arsenic to whiten their complexion. This discussion begs the question why all this attention to beauty and appearance. One explanation is that beauty and physical appearance attract a premium in the labour market. A more difficult question to answer is whether it is possible that beautiful, pleasant looking people do better in the workplace because interviewers enjoy their physical beauty or because of their beauty, good looking people always have had extra help from their teachers, co-workers and now enjoy a higher wage because their skill level has been obtained.
Purpose of Study
The purpose of this study is to determine how attractive individuals, who have beauty premium, benefit from higher job wages, rapid job advancements and greater bargaining power. Limitations of Study
Since different researchers have used different methods in assigning a beauty scale, it presents some limitations on how the results are analyzed. According to Loh (1993), data on height and weight does not depend on subjective ratings. Other studies have taken height, weight, symmetry of facial features, hair colour, dress, level of grooming, gender, and age into account (Larkins and Pines, 1979). Some analysts have surveyed data that includes both the economic factors and non-economic factors and have used a scale of below average, average, and above average. However, Berschied and Walster (1974), and Morrow (1990) are of the view that no matter how attractiveness is measured its impact or effect is big. In one study by Shahani-Denning (2003) the sample size was not large enough. Only one applicant was reviewed by a participant. In reality numbers could be higher which could have an effect on the hiring process. Blount-Nuss et. al (2006) documents the effects attire can have on an individual in the job market. These researchers report, “because employability depends so heavily upon attractiveness and attractiveness depends so heavily upon attire,” the wrong type of clothing can cost an individual...
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Science Daily (April 19, 2004). Physical beauty involves more than good looks.
Retrieved October 28, 2007 from, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040416011549.htm
Retrieved November 2, 2007, from http://trosenblat.web.wesleyan.edu/home/beauty.pdf
Retrieved October 15, 2007, from Harvard University and Department of Economics, Wesleyan University website: http://mobius.fas.harvard.edu/Beauty/main.pdf
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