Beauty and productivity: The case of the ladies professional golf association

Seung Ahn, Young Hoon Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

There is evidence that attractive looking workers earn more than average looking workers, even after controlling for a variety of individual characteristics. The presence of such beauty premiums may influence the labor supply decisions of attractive workers. For example, if one unit of a product by an attractive worker is more rewarded than that by her less attractive coworker, the attractive worker may put more effort into improving her productivity. We examine this possibility by analyzing panel data for individual female golfers participating in the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour. We found that attractive golfers recorded lower than average scores and earn more prize money than average looking players, even when controlling for player experience and other variables related to their natural talents. This finding is consistent with the notion that physical appearance is associated with individual workers' accumulation of human capital or skills. If the human capital of attractive workers is at least partly an outcome of favoritism toward beauty, then the premium estimates obtained by previous studies may have been downwardly biased.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-168
Number of pages14
JournalContemporary Economic Policy
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Public Administration

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