422 PART SIX THE ECONOMICS OF LABOR MARKETS CASE STUDY THE BENEFITS OF BEAUTY People differ in many ways. One difference is in how attractive they are. The ac-tor Mel Gibson, for instance, is a handsome man. In part for this reason, his movies attract large audiences. Not surprisingly, the large audiences mean a large income for Mr. Gibson. How prevalent are the economic benefits of beauty? Labor economists Daniel Hamermesh and Jeff Biddle tried to answer this question in a study published in the December 1994 issue of the American Economic Review. Hamermesh and Bid-dle examined data from surveys of individuals in the United States and Canada. The interviewers who conducted the survey were asked to rate each respondent’s physical appearance. Hamermesh and Biddle then examined how much the wages of the respondents depended on the standard determinants—education, experience, and so on—and how much they depended on physical appearance. Hamermesh and Biddle found that beauty pays. People who are deemed to
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Human physical appearance, large audiences, good looks, Jeff Biddle, economists Daniel Hamermesh