"Beauty is the Promise of Happiness"?

45 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2011 Last revised: 2 Sep 2011

See all articles by Daniel S. Hamermesh

Daniel S. Hamermesh

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Jason Abrevaya

University of Texas at Austin

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 2011

Abstract

We measure the impact of individuals' looks on life satisfaction/happiness. Using five data sets, from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Germany, we construct beauty measures in different ways that allow placing lower bounds on the effects of beauty. Beauty raises happiness: A one standard-deviation change in beauty generates about 0.10 standard deviations of additional satisfaction/happiness among men, 0.12 among women. Accounting for a wide variety of covariates, particularly effects in the labor and marriage markets, including those that might be affected by differences in beauty, the impact among men is more than halved, among women slightly less than halved.

Suggested Citation

Hamermesh, Daniel S. and Abrevaya, Jason, "Beauty is the Promise of Happiness"? (August 2011). NBER Working Paper No. w17327, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1918657

Daniel S. Hamermesh (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Economics ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
United States
512-475-8526 (Phone)
512-471-3510 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Germany

Jason Abrevaya

University of Texas at Austin ( email )

2317 Speedway
Austin, TX 78712
United States

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