Essay on Beauty and the Labor Market

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Summary: The article “Beauty and the Labor Market” by Daniel S. Hamermesh and Jeff E. Biddle examines the economics of discrimination in the labour market based on looks and the relationship that exists between beauty and labour market earnings. Analyzing, results from several studies, data from various empirical research and surveys; the article identifies the source of earnings differentials related to looks in six distinct and detailed sections. The first section addresses the question of whether it is possible to use measures of beauty to analyze the role of looks in the labour market. Since, it would be futile to examine the effect of beauty on employment if there is no mutual agreement on what defines beauty. Using data from…show more content…
Through analyzing data provided by three diverse broad surveys, each offering a variety of measures of earning, the article advocates that the finding of pay premia and penalties for looks is strong and accurate. These findings become even stronger when the authors synthesize the results from the three surveys. A major contribution of this article is that it paves the way for future experiments and empirical studies. The conclusion presented on premia and penalties associated with looks in the article reflect the effect of beauty in all its characteristics, not just one of its many components, such as height, weight, or facial appearance. Future experiment and empirical studies can be built on the layout or techniques presented by this article and can be focused on examining the source of wage differentials and possible discrimination due to a specific characteristic of beauty or various other dimensions such as physical and mental disabilities. Same experiment can also be conducted on data from economies outside of North America to check whether the same premia and penalties of looks exist in other economies. Critique: The article proposes that there is a positive relationship between beauty and labour market earnings and the impact of beauty is higher for men than women. However, the article fails to answer an important question: is the impact of beauty due to pure discrimination or
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