Beauty, body size and wages: Evidence from a unique data set

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Abstract

We analyze how attractiveness rated at the start of the interview in the German General Social Survey is related to weight, height, and body mass index (BMI), separately by gender and accounting for interviewers’ characteristics or fixed effects. We show that height, weight, and BMI all strongly contribute to male and female attractiveness when attractiveness is rated by opposite-sex interviewers, and that anthropometric characteristics are irrelevant to male interviewers when assessing male attractiveness. We also estimate whether, controlling for beauty, body size measures are related to hourly wages. We find that anthropometric attributes play a significant role in wage regressions in addition to attractiveness, showing that body size cannot be dismissed as a simple component of beauty. Our findings are robust to controlling for health status and accounting for selection into working.

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