The Return of Beauty on Wages for Attorneys

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Jeff Biddle and Daniel Hammermesh investigated the return of beauty on wages for attorneys in the public sector and the private sector. The hypotheses they tested were weather better looking attorneys who graduated in the 1970s earned more than others as an effect that grew with experience, and whether attorneys in the private sector are better looking than those in the public sector, differences that rise with age. The data used was attained from a particular law school which described graduates of that law school, including their backgrounds, performance, activities in law school, career histories, current work activities, and environment. With this data, Biddle and Hammermesh measured the earning differential associated with differences in physical attractiveness by exploring employer, consumer, and statistical discrimination. Biddle and Hammermesh’s findings were that the marginal earnings for attractive workers was higher in the private sector compared to the public sector which led to sectoral switching linked to beauty because unattractive workers found their efforts more desirable in the public sectors while attractive workers found a greater marginality in the private sector. Biddle and Hammermesh determined that is conclusion was due to consumer discrimination because the of the consumer’s desire to indulge a taste for spending time with better-looking people and a belief that better-looking attorney’s generate greater financial gains for their client due to their persuasiveness and success in dealing with people in court. The paper definitely contributed to our knowledge because the research presented on exploring the economic effect of beauty, as stated in the article, has received almost no attention from economists. This research and its conclusions can be used by employees and employers to maximize productivity on the supply and demand side of the labor market. Real world experiences can be directly related to the findings in this article...
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