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Does Beauty Matter in Undergraduate Education?

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Publication Date
Keywords
  • I23 - Higher Education Research Institutions
  • J16 - Economics Of Gender
  • Non-Labor Discrimination

Abstract

Physically attractive individuals achieve greater success in terms of earnings and status than those who are less attractive. However, much about the mechanism behind this “beauty premium” remains unknown. We use a rich dataset to shed light on its nature at the college level. We find that students judged to be more attractive perform significantly worse on standardized tests but, conditional on test scores, are not evaluated more favorably at the point of admission. Controlling for test scores, more attractive students receive marginally better grades in some cases. Finally, there is substantial beauty-based sorting into areas of study and occupations.

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