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"Beauty Is the Promise of Happiness"?

Daniel Hamermesh () and Jason Abrevaya

No 5600, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Abstract: We measure the impact of individuals' looks on their life satisfaction or happiness. Using five data sets from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Germany, we construct beauty measures in different ways that allow putting a lower bound on the true effects of beauty on happiness. Personal beauty raises happiness, with a one standard-deviation change in beauty generating about 0.10 standard deviations of additional satisfaction/happiness among men, 0.12 among women. Accounting for a wide variety of covariates, including those that might be affected by differences in beauty, and particularly effects in the labor and marriage markets, the impact among men is more than halved, among women slightly less than halved. The majority of the effect of beauty on happiness may work through its effects on economic outcomes.

Keywords: life satisfaction; measurement error; looks (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I30 J10 C20 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hap, nep-hpe, nep-lab, nep-ltv and nep-soc
Date: 2011-03
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Published in: European Economic Review, 2013, 64, 351-368

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Journal Article: Beauty is the promise of happiness? (2013) Downloads
Working Paper: "Beauty Is the Promise of Happiness"? (2011) Downloads
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