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What's Behind Her Smile? Looks, Self-Esteem, and Labor Market Outcomes

Francisco Gallego (), Cristian Larroulet () and Andrea Repetto

Documentos de Trabajo LACEA from The Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association - LACEA

Abstract: We explore how improving dental health affects economic, social, and psychological outcomes. Using a randomized intervention whereby an impoverished group in Chile received free dental care, including access to prostheses, we find that the treatment in the short-run: (i) significantly improved dental health of both men and women, (ii) had a significant and positive effect on women's selfesteem, and (iii) positively impacted both employment rates and earnings among women. In the medium run, the effects on dental health and self-esteem persist but the treatment effects on labor market outcomes become statistically non-significant, although still economically relevant among women with low levels of self-esteem and among women missing at least one front tooth at baseline. We also find treatment effects on spending on appearance-related items, and improvements in the quality of relationships with partners including a reduction in verbal violence. The employment effects come mostly from the informal sector. Using several pieces of evidence, we document that the employment effects are consistent with a combination of increases in productivity and labor supply jointly with a possibly much smaller response of labor demand in the formal sector.

Keywords: Dental Health; Labor Markets; Self-Esteem; Women. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I10 J16 J20 O15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 54
Date: 2018-11-15
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea, nep-lab and nep-lam
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