The Beauty Premium

Yes, we're human. Catherine Hakim wrote about it back in March:

[P]eople working in the better-paid parts of the private sector are more attractive than those in the public and non-profit sectors. Tall and attractive people are more likely to be employed in professional jobs, like law or banking. For the ugly and short, it gets worse. Good-looking people can earn 10 to 15 per cent more than the average-looking, who in turn can earn 10 to 15 per cent more than the plain or ugly. The tall earn more than the short; the obese have earnings 10 to 15 per cent below average.

Statistical analysis shows this beauty premium is not really just about cleverly disguised differences in intelligence, social class or self-confidence. Studies of lawyers reveal that there is always a premium for attractiveness that varies in size, but is not due to employer discrimination. The most attractive can earn 12 per cent more than the unattractive, and are 20 per cent more likely to achieve partnership in their firm, because they are more effective at pulling in customers.

Reihan adds:

The idea of investing in cosmetic surgery rather than a college degree is disturbing to those of us of a bourgeois bent, but it might be the right choice for some. Hakim’s concept of erotic capital is a useful reminder that inequality is a multidimensional phenomenon.

And bariatric surgery might pay for itself.