Paying for Beauty Pays

Awhile back, I ordered Daniel Hamermesh’s new book, which is a basically a more readable compilation of some of his academic papers on beauty, called Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People are More Successful. I’ve yet to read it due to the piles of books all over my office and apartment right now, but I will say that I find the subject fascinating.

An article in today’s New York Times addresses one facet of the beauty premium by presenting research that shows that makeup affects our perception of women, particularly traits such as trustworthiness. The study is conducted by psychologists, but it’s no surprise that they asked Hamermesh to weigh in:

Daniel Hamermesh, an economics professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said the conclusion that makeup makes women look more likable — or more socially cooperative — made sense to him because “we conflate looks and a willingness to take care of yourself with a willingness to take care of people.”

It’s a very economist-y response, which is likely why I find it appealing.

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