October 2014

IZA DP No. 8526: Evaluating the Effect of Beauty on Labor Market Outcomes: A Review of the Literature

Xing (Michelle) Liu, Eva Sierminska

published in: International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2nd ed., 2015, Vol. 6

An important underlying determinant of wage discrimination, as well as the gender wage gap is the way the labor market rewards individual physical attractiveness. This article surveys the extensive empirical literature of the effect of physical attractiveness on labor market outcomes. Particular attention is given to the channels through which attractiveness may affect individual labor market outcomes and the way attractiveness affects gender wage differentials. Further research is needed on the effect of attractiveness within occupations in order to provide more evidence on its productivity-enhancing channel of transmission and the effect this has on the gender wage gap.