Attraction and Cooperative Behavior
University of Zurich Department of Economics Working Paper No. 82
38 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2012 Last revised: 26 Jun 2013
Date Written: June 26, 2013
Being good-looking seems to generate substantial benefits in many social interactions, making the "beauty premium" a not to be underrated economic factor. This paper investigates how physical attractiveness enables people to generate these benefits in the case of cooperation, using field data from a modified one-shot prisoner's dilemma played in a high-stakes television game show. While attractive contestants are not more or less cooperative than less attractive ones, facial attractiveness produces more cooperative behavior by counterparts, but only in mixed-gender interactions. Effects of attractiveness are therefore not exclusively due to "beauty-is-good" stereotyping, but rather operate through a preference-based mechanism.
Keywords: Beauty premium, gender, stereotypes, attractiveness, cooperation
JEL Classification: C71, D03, D83
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