Author Explores Why Good-Looking Men Make More Money

by on March 7th, 2015
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A new book out by University of Texas economics professor, Daniel Hamermesh, argues that good looking people not only make more money, but they find better advancement opportunism well. In his book, called “Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful,” Hamermesh writes that attractive people generally make three or four percent more money than to non-attractive people. But perhaps even more compelling is his assertion that people that look worse than average tend to make less money than both attractive and regular people.

Sue Shellenbarger, columnist for the Wall Street Journal, recently conducted an interview with Hamermesh, which she posts in a recent edition of the journal. In it, she finds that Hamermesh conducted a significant amount of research before writing his book. Among his other findings, men benefit more from being attractive than do women. This he says is due to the fact that more men than women work, and secondly because women who are not attractive have more options, such as staying home and raising children. Also there is the sad fact that women are still paid less than men in general.

When asked if good looking men get paid more because they wind up in positions that bring in more money to a company, via sales, etc. Hamermesh says that’s only part of it. The other part is that people both above and below good looking men on the corporate ladder tend to see them as better employees. This means, he says, that it doesn’t really matter what sort of niche they fill, virtually all men with a reasonable personality tend to do better in the work place than are those more plain.

And while he agrees that the whole setup doesn’t seem fair, he points out that other attributes sometimes give other employees a leg up as well. Those that just happen to be born smarter than others for example tend to make more money that the average Joe, and to climb the corporate ladder faster. He also, notes that despite feelings by some that something ought to be done to even out the playing field, it doesn’t seem very likely due to the fact that there is little to no groundswell of support for such an initiative.

Hamermesh also points out an item he found of particular interest and that is how fundamental good looks appear to be, for both genders. Most people know a good looking person when they see one, and most agree on the same people. And while there are some similarities between them, especially among men, there doesn’t seem to be any one trait (other than height) that can be pinned down as trait that all have, which would make trying to stop such blatant bias from going on in the work place.

For those off put by the whole idea, Hamermesh suggests they simply try to learn to live with it because, at least with the way things are today, there doesn’t seem to be any real way to change the status quo.


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