Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Answer Me This, Would Looking Smart Help?

By coincidence I had recently brought up in my classes the idea that good looks increase an individual's earnings relative to average looks. Now, along comes the St. Louis Fed with an article that discusses new findings that confirm that very point.

It turns out that the "plainness penalty" is 9 percent, while the "beauty premium" equals 5 percent, according to the research cited. Furthermore, there is other research showing that obesity impairs earnings, but only among white women. Then there is still more research showing a "height premium" for white men. No wonder there is so much plastic surgery these days. I'm waiting for some enterprising economist to relate earnings increases to boob jobs, tummy tucks, and face lifts. Maybe a boob job would prove to be a better investment than the stock market. Only if you're a woman, of course!

I think I see a connection here that everyone else has overlooked. Michael Jackson earned millions when he was still an attractive young black man. Now, he apparently earns a pittance compared to the good old days. Could this be due to his looks? It wasn't me who called him a grotesque white woman, but there might be plenty of people who would agree with that assessment of his appearance. In any case, I can't do anything about my looks. I've had people tell me I look smart. I wonder if that helps.


At 6:21 AM, Blogger Dr. Tammy said...

Almost everyone knows there is an "undiscussable" in Human Resource Management (HRM), where we are taught to behave fairly, without bias. However, I have seen managers choose the "attractive" candidate over the "plain" candidate. I would like to think this isn't the case and that organizational leaders really follow EEOC in hiring.

PS - I agree. You have that "academic" look. People tell me that my husband, Don, has that "executive" or "doctor" look when he walks in a room. Strangers embrace him with a "grand" type of welcome when he enters a room, business, meeting, etc. I think it's how he carrying himself...or maybe just the aura he gives off??? Of course, I have two looks - "professorial" (as Don calls it) and "beach bum." It all depends if I have a tweed jacket on with jeans or...cutoffs & a t-shirt!

At 10:27 PM, Blogger Ronald M. Ayers said...

I remember dr. tammy when she was a student. She might not want me to say this, but I remember her punk/cowgirl look. Any pictures from those days, dr. tammy?


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