Beauty is in the Eye of the Employer: Labor Market Discrimination of Accountants
Shapir, O. M., & Shtudiner, Z. (2022). Beauty is in the eye of the employer: Labor market discrimination of accountants. Frontiers in psychology, 13.
28 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2015 Last revised: 19 Sep 2022
Date Written: January 18, 2021
This research investigates labor market discrimination based on physical appearance in Israel’s Certified Public Accountant firms. Using a survey questionnaire to collect data on relative attractiveness and potential employability of candidates, we show that accountants in managerial positions prefer to hire more physically attractive candidates. This beauty premium is larger among the five biggest Certified Public Accountant firms in Israel and can be explained by the perception that attractive candidates possess essential traits for becoming successful accountants. We also found that for female managers, beauty plays a more important role at the earliest stage of the hiring process. However, while no differences were found between the beauty premia for male and female candidates among male managers, we found a significantly lower beauty premium for female candidates (relative to their male counterparts) among female managers. In contrast to recent studies, we did not find any evidence to support the notion of a beauty penalty among attractive female candidates. An important implication of our results is that even among accounting firms, where professionalism is well defined, discrimination against candidates based on traits such as physical appearance can ineffectively eliminate suitably qualified interns.
Keywords: Beauty; Labor Market Discrimination; Accounting
JEL Classification: J71
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation