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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Do Attractive People Earn More Money?

You'll never find a section in your annual review that discusses your looks. But if researchers from the University of Texas are right, attractive people may get higher raises than folks who aren't as good-looking, reports Reuters.

Two different studies of college professors and lawyers that were both conducted by researcher Daniel Hamermesh arrived at this surprising conclusion.

College Professors

Six students--three men and three women--were asked to judge the looks of 94 members of the University of Texas faculty. The researchers then compared those attractiveness ratings with classroom teaching ratings given by students in 463 courses those professors had taught. It's important to note that the classroom ratings help determine the professors' salary increases. It was startlingly clear that the good-looking profs got significantly higher student ratings than the professors who weren't as attractive.

"The effects of differences in beauty on the average course rating are not small," said Hamermesh. This was especially true for men who received "more of a premium" for good looks, as well as "more of a penalty" for bad looks.

While he and his research assistant Amy Parker told Reuters that they do not claim student ratings are necessarily good benchmarks of a teacher's classroom productivity, they insist their findings "leave little doubt" that perceived good looks do indeed drive up the scores.

And consider this question: Are better-looking professors better teachers? "What if students simply pay more attention to good-looking professors and learn more?" Hamermesh and Parker ask rhetorically in their study findings. "We would argue that this is a productivity effect. We would claim the instructors are better teachers." And if they're better teachers, they deserve to be paid more money.


It's not limited to just the classroom. Earlier research conducted by Hamermesh and Jeff E. Biddle that was published in the Journal of Labor Economics showed the same link with lawyers.

  • Better-looking attorneys earned more money after five years of practice than ugly lawyers, and that effect grew even larger by the 15th year of practice.
  • Attorneys working in the private sector are better-looking than those in the public sector.
  • A male attorney has a higher probability of attaining an early partnership if he is good-looking. One possible reason: He is able to get more clients because of his looks.

Maybe it's time not only to dress for success, but also to groom for success.
source: Netscape.com

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