« Freakonomics Radio

153. Reasons to Not Be Ugly

2014-01-30 | 🔗
The "beauty premium" is real, for everyone from babies to NFL quarterbacks.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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An original. Can you look back to when he met the one you loved him remember exactly how it was peering through me. So brothers joined the army, Tom HOLLAND. I have this. Joys of some sometimes have already seen everything it can have a nightmare. Sherry radar just remember, an apple tv plus. For economics, radio sponsored by discover earning cash, back on your purchases is great, but Discover will do you one better at the end of your first year, discover will actually match all the cash back. You earned on your credit card birthright cover matches all the cash vacuum in on your credit card at the end of your first year, it is especially amazing because Discover is accept if that ninety nine percent of places in the? U S, the take credit cards, learn more,
discover dot com slash. Yes, me twenty one Nilsen report limitations applying they very is sports economist. He recently had escaped chat with Susie Lichtenberger producer and for economic freedom illustrate the possible I'm gonna come up at the same time. Cities at ninety nine point: four there's a computer program called Sim meter lot of plastic surgeons, use it where you can upload a photograph, and it will tell you on a scale of a hundred just how attractive as the name implies the scimitar scores based on how symmetrical your features are, so the average human being it's about an mainly to so Ninety nine point four Russell Wilson quarterback the Seattle Seahawks sooner
so is it you're? Looking you know, he's cute, he is he's very symmetrical is very sophisticated. Asymmetrical I think he works out. I need us to berry and some colleagues we're looking into the relationship between physical attractiveness and salary for NFL quarterbacks. This is the kind of thing economists have been doing for years. There is a whole literature in economics on how beauty effects devalued. You should have workers so very and his colleagues fed photographs of one hundred and ninety four NFL quarterbacks past and present into the programme. Matt Ryan, Linda Ninety nine point: eight though these are attracted by quarterbacks David. Please also, of course, Mister Wootten Tom Brady Ninety eight point, nine, eight or virtually ninety nine Peyton Manning did much better than I would have thought. No offense pate manic. Ninety eight point: nine seven little bit below Tom Brady
common capron it from the forty Niners is ninety eight point: seven then there's the Chicago bears quarterback J Cutler, see where is Jake Cutler Color does okay. There is ninety eight point. Seven six is about average. So, what did these researchers learn about? The relationship between quarterback looks and pay off. First, we should point out the obvious and say that looks are very, very, very secondary to quarterback ability is not, as you go, get Brad Pitt any. Football uniform then he's now, twenty million, our quarterback ok caveat noted. So what did they find? What we found is that aid. Daniel Deviation, change cemetery, which was a three point. Two difference in the cemetery score results at about twelve percent increase in salary not worked out to be three hundred. Seventy eight thousand dollars in additional paying self being more attractive, quarterback led to
by the standards of the ETA fell a small bump violently. I'm happy from w and my see this is free economics, radio, the podcast that explores the hidden side of everything. Here's your host, Stephen governor and today show we're talking about, looks, good, looks and bad looks, and why It's a damn at birth, cuter, baby, ugly baby does acute or maybe have an advantage. At that moment, the way that's going to be
didn't raised- gets couple more by Mama, probably and certainly gets Odin odd over by onlookers, grandma's Grandpa friends, that's Dan Hammer Mesh he's an economist at the University of Texas. Ok, kid and lets say grade school, ugly, kid, gets penalized. How and how long does at last I don't know how long at last, a lot of studies by social psychologist showing that, in fact, better looking kids in great schools have more friends, ah uglier one, shut up to a larger extent on the playground etc, and what about how the teachers tree kid in grade school or high school, no question about it. They re more strongly more powerfully to better looking kid, ten degrade them easier and so on. We didn't economics Hamish, is the eminence. Greece, especially was called the beauty pre. So what does he look like? I think, on a five too
scale. I put myself in the middle of a three came: ok ring. The problem is that of course, is on a daily show, when I did that the interviewer Jason Jones at three out of tat, the University of Texas, economist, Daniel Hammer Bash, Part of society is still suffering in ways. We never imagined ugly people So all this because you are an economist, no one knows it and the professor economics who has done a lot of research on this. I would think, on average, two as a cold, hard factual number. You would consider yourself a three three editor, as only three out of five thirty five whatever you can say, two Dan Hammerless about his looks and how it relates to his work, he's heard it I've, been doing research and economics for well on almost fifty There is now on a whole variety of topics in the field,
labour markets and labour issues. One of them which I've been pursuing for almost twenty years has been the impact of works on various markets and making about looks and how it affects our life in a whole variety of ways. And then you were among the first, if not be first economists to do this kind of work on how your looks effect year: outcomes in life, there were a few papers that did very very short studies, a specific instances of looks affecting ages, and what I am and co authored, Jeff Biddle of Michigan State. There must do that in a very comprehensive way on random samples of people, and we started thinking more and more about what the clauses what's going on here. How markets can be affected by looks and sword led to a whole variety of research and the general effect of looks and economic outcomes? What interested you from the from the start,
That was not a loaded question. You took an embarrassing because I happened to see in a totally different context in their data set than I was using a court, non locks, and I the g. How does that affect economic outcomes in particular wages net got me started on this now published seven different papers, pleasant book on this topic. Okay, so give us a thumbnail. What have you found? What is the data? Tell us about the earnings that save ugly people were depends, The country you used that has now been studies, have effects of beauty on earnings and large random cross sections in about six different countries and on the evidence, is overwhelming that there isn't a fact. In the? U S, I'd say for men, it a big, maybe for the ugliest. I may use that word, sixers Evans it'd, be a loss of earnings everything else, the same oil sequel of between eight and ten percent, perhaps women a shade, less of a negative effect.
In the? U S, it's a bit less elsewhere, because of course, like every dimension. Here We have more inequality in wages and most any other rich country. When you found that men are analyzed more in the labour market for being uglier than women? Were you surprised, I was surprised, that's the result of all the results we ve gotten over the years that drives people crazy man was first publicized, which is now must exactly twenty years ago. It caused a furore in the Wall Street Journal. I remember you're, talking Brigham Young University and making the com that women get penalized less and therefore ugly. When tend to stay at home small men, women stay at home, a lot. They took us his mind, I get more. Women are bad, looking nothing at all costs to your assignment at this stage. That result. Anything else, is surprising Vasili explicable by the fact that there is Election issued their guys mostly work, women don't work as much and if you're, back
looking woman is penalized in the labour market are more likely to stay at home. So we select out bad looking eyes in the labour market. So it's not a comment necessarily on how the labour market is more generous toward less good. Looking woman, No, not at all, it's a selection like an interesting, but it's a positive selection into work based on, looks, ok, you're saying that bad looking people earn less money. How much money are we talking it over the course of a lifetime really see the average person? he's gonna, earn one point: six million on discounted over his lifetime, that's above average forty year earnings. Ah today we're talkin. Therefore, a couple, a hundred thousand for people who are in the by men who were in the bottom. Sixth averting these are pretty bad. Looking people I mean, I don't think everybody would classifies somebody in that category. But for somebody who is classified in the bottom, twelve, the blue, near the bottom people would agree that person's pretty bad luck
no tell me this is that very ok you're talking about a very, very significant wage penalty, a couple hundred thousand dollars in less in earnings over the course of a lifetime. Tell me is that be how do we know that, because of their looks, and not just because of the professions that they get sorted in? which may be because of the lost but may not be shown is the professions into which you swore looks do matter, but there so many other things at matter. People choose occupations based upon all the advantages they see. No question looks effect. The sorting but huge numbers of studies now have done not just what we did and Random cross section of the entire population, but have looked at. I may pardon. We have looked at, looks with in large numbers of different occupations and, except
one example in every one of these occupations, ranging from NFL quarter back to God, help us professors as well browsers and economics, even being better. Looking helped you being worse, looking hurt you and what was the exception. Ah armed robbers, robbers, it turned out to be negative because they make sense, because you can do better as an arm robber. If you dont have to shoot people, you can just scare him by being ugly as hell when I started work on paper. We I started looking much major man. That's aired all taken he's an economist George Estate. He and colleague Nazi motion wrote a paper called ugly criminals taken remembers what got him interested the topic was about. Ten years ago I was at a glance from vice and laughter
and I was reading the newspaper and I saw the courts bank robber got my attention and exactly the court was that I am too ugly to get a job and that statement actually gets caught in a bank robbery, and The garden three and the idea was to see is a relationship between political abstract, condemn propensity, so is there a relationship between ugliness and crime. As being very unattractive, increasing the individual propensity for criminal activity for a number of crimes ranging from going to have to selling illicit drugs. And a fixed anywhere from half a percentage point to one and a half a percentage point saw extended. Crime is re. Erecting a big These are not trivial ethics
Here's how taken in motion summarize their finding unattractive individually commit more crime in comparison to average, looking ones and very attractive individuals commit less crime in comparison to those who are average now. Why might thus be well, as damn Hamish told us the worse? You look the more your penalized in the labour market, the legitimate labour market, which might give you an incentive, maybe even an advantage in the criminal world, so coming up on I'm afraid you, if the ugly penalty so big, can you just change the way you look the only thing I could really do it in my own case, if somebody put me under completely of all the bones in my face rearranged and to make them better also faces made for radio public radio
when I'm shaving in the morning, looking at the mirror, understand Icy Cary grant. Apart from the hide the hair, the teeth, it looks like I think I see Cary Grant. Economics, radio sponsored by wonder is business movers podcast when Coca COLA changed their recipe to what they called new Coke in nineteen eighty five, the backlash was swift and severe, and yet the man who drove the chain German Robert boys wetter pulled new coke from the shore. In a matter of months, wondering business movers explores boys what is controversial decision and the public response, but the real story. New coke is far. Or human and complex list.
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to your bank account on you reschedule see all the ways square. Can health at square dot com slash, go slash! Freak, though nonsense from W and Y see. This is for economics, radio, here's, your host, Stevens Abner, So, if bad looking people do worse and good looking people in the job market, do they worse in other places as well. Here's Dan Hammer Mesh again the University of Texas economies sure the marriage market, which is just as important looks matter, also essentially looks, are traded Everything else in a match of a husband and wife, and the evidence is very clear on this that guy's, just don't matter very much when they match up caught the Aristotle, NASA's, Jackie Kennedy. A good example
that women's looks matter. A lot women's looks, are paid a higher premium and the marriage market and stay matter a lot and that's true. Then show now in studies. I did, for you You ass in China have now seen the study in Germany. It does the same thing and makes exactly the same point so the marriage market, certainly the market for loans as a series, me papers written all within about a year at each other. Using unsecured loans offer something called prospered, dot com where they looked at the terms and needy faults of different people based upon their looks and the worst looking people. We are less likely to get the alone. They had to pay a higher price and yet none the less. They were less like a default. They were really discriminated against interesting. You know, so this all.
Makes sense, I think, to most of us who hear your research and its also kind a depressing and sad, although probably not so surprising, that people who are ugly early however the lifetime, but I could think of a scenario where, if you hadn't told me this research that I might think the opposite would be true. In other words, if I'm not a good looking person and that lets em in high school in college, when a lot of people are investing a lot of time and effort and resources in social stuff, developing you're, dating life, etc, etc. That if your ugly, then maybe it kind of, say you Noah, instead of investing in all that kind of human social capital stuff, I'm gonna invest in you, no other stuff rating computer programming study becoming a scientist, etc, etc. Do you have any evidence of that kind of you know in This happens is very hard to give evidence that kind of investment I expected goes on. I liked the link in my own case, I did some
but nonetheless I mean a lot of the stuff we ve done is other things equal, which means that held consonant even without that thou. Just taking people by looks just raw there still is that negative effect, a bad looks, positive, but lux I'm sure some of this goes on and to some extent that mitigates the impacts of looks on labour market, another outcomes, but not sufficient to wipe it out completely. What can you tell us about the relationship between Venus and lets, say self esteem or happiness of two different issues. Steam is a very well defined concept, with a series of questions. There's no question their positively related, but there are nowhere near perfectly correlated. Indeed, if you would just for self esteem in the equations describing wages or other outcomes. The effective beauty is still there. Hardly attenuated wall in terms of happiness? This is my most recent than I believe my final study, the scientific nature on this choice,
oh gee, the poor good, looking person. They must be unhappy when I was a kid we read the poem Richard Corey about this incredible looking guy went on, kill themselves even guy in town, and yet that just nonsense is no How should we had six different data sets for four different countries? Looking at the impact of beauty unhappiness, there's. No doubt the effect is positive. Better looking people are happier all else. The same way Really cool about that study. Every like that paper is that the mechanisms through which beauty impacts happy differ between men and women, and this is a crucial point not solve my problem with this research that had for the last twenty years for men, the impact is indirect, they earn more and their happier, because the beauty makes them earn more for what
That's much less important is this proves the direct effect of feeling happy, because your good looking and that's why I think women think this is more of a women's issue. Could it's more direct for them is for men now? Don't you ve actually argued for civil rights protection for ugly people. You ve written ugliness. I quote you yourself: ugliness could be protected generally in the United States by small extensions of the Americans with Disabilities act. Ugly people could be allowed to seek help from the equal employment opportunity, commission and other agencies in overcoming the effects of discrimination. We could even have affirmative action programmes, for he ugly, so really this is an argument that you mean be taken seriously, and if so, where does the argument stand? Ok by me, may be taken seriously. Yes, I am in favour of those programmes most emphatically not because we only have been spent
these days only have a certain amount of energy for doing protection, and I dont view these so called looks challenged. Being as meritorious deserving of aid as other groups, what other groups, for instance racial minorities, women, etc. That will let me ask you this affirmative action for ugly people might be hard for people to handle, maybe the The first would be easier, which is a beauty. Tat, should really good. Looking people pay extra tax since their wages are being inflated, that's been proposed; I find that again. This is funny what I we find that less onerous, less objectionable, then affirmative action for the ugly none of these things in this country at this time are going to happen. Miss funded talk about, and I think the main
The reason I raised this initially, which had been talking about fifteen years, is in so far as beauty cannot be easily changed. How is it logically that different from race or gender? That's? The point logically is very little difference to question the boy put up political value. But when you say beauty can't be changed, I would think there are a lot of things we can do to make oneself looking her less ugly ray you couldn't have teeth fix, you can have scars fix, you can have hair done. You can see more and look better. You can get your skin cleaned up, etc, etc, etc. So why is that the same type of issue doesn't help very much all things you mentioned have been studies. Said I did on clothing and cosmetics and hair for China for women. There's a very I study of plastic surgery for Korea. These things. Now improve your beauty, but not very much. The We think it would really do it in my own case is of somebody put me under command,
he broke all the bones in my face new grounds and to make them better. Ok, the movie A saw for John Revolt is the example of that, but that ain't happening and I'm not sure anybody wants to even do that, because the pain suffering and also dollar cost involved in it. So I don't think it does changeable, as people seem to think I so. Finally, just something I'm curious about the weeding get to earlier. Obviously some careers that good looking people go into because of their looks modelling and acting for example. What else can you tell us about, looks and the professions that people sort into or get sorted into? I think we have some evidence for attorneys that in fact people will sell select into sectors where you have to get clients so far. How will we showed not just that lawyers and the private sector were better looking, but those who started in the past like sector or you among the better looking public sector, lawyers would switch over during their careers. The private sector, and vice
Ursa for bad looking lawyers starting off from the private sector there more like in a switch. So anything it involves customer contact, the more contact with people you have, but the crucial point is every job we do. You have contact with people, maybe not customers, employers, if not employers and fellow employees, we deal with people all the time and looks affect our interactions with them. What are particularly good professions for the ugly of probably radio? Toby radio. Thank you. So much for faster Hadrava was a famous line which I hereby started. This beautiful face for Radio Vienna line. Let me just say for the record: if I had to choose all over again between
a life of crime and radio, even public radio I'd make the same decision so with these people for sure I this is Rob Sego, but when I'm saving in the morning. Look in the mirror, I'm stunned Icy Cary Grant, apart from the hide, the hair, the tooth illusion, I think I see Cary grant my wife Jane can attest. I'm stunning, aren't I absolutely mostly, I have high risk. Don't you know I'm not a bad looking gun, I'm fine radio, but you know my wife likes the sort of keep mighty going check. So Google's me every now and then a couple years ago, she pulled up this sight of this woman and her blog posts said. Basically, I used to be such a huge Kai dolphin, but then I googled it and I said
we would like our try. I'm broke Gladstone, CO, host and managing editor of the media. It is true it's good for the less attractive in Dutch and also for those who don't have very good wardrobe. I once did an interview with weak and all things considered about Chechnya. In a tower you know, no one's gonna know act where pajamas everyday. What I see myself pudding much on the trajectory somewhere queen the young, Miss Taylor and Whoopi Golfer Missus Shadd from radio lab and look you want to know why I work in radio it's to protect you from this face. Winding beauty of this face. I'm just not sure you can handle it too. That's why I keep it hidden to do you a favor. Look you don't believe me call Ryan Gosling. How do you think he got those apps? You think he keeps calling me at all hours of the night for work octaves because beauty, for faces for radio or sometimes on the radio. Cars are just two beautiful your authority. That
We back ass his nurse next week on the show what would an economist never ever ever ever put on his own online dating profile, and what might an economist lie about in summer? The questions asked you how into deep conversation with your mate and cuddle Lange, and things like that, you are I may have made myself seem a bit more accessible and those dimensions them an honest first, Edward said: how to build the best ever online dating Profile, its next time, unfrequent
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Transcript generated on 2021-03-13.