The Impact of Attractiveness on Employability: Gender Differences in Peer Effects

Research output: Working paperPreprint


The beauty premium in the labor market has been presented in many previous studies. Some researchers have used standardized ratings of attractiveness to avoid peer effects. In this study, we examine if there are indeed peer effects on the influence of external appearance on employability, and whether there is a difference between men and women. We presented participants with a series of male and female photos and asked them to rate the attractiveness and other characteristics of the people portrayed. They were also asked to rate the likelihood that person in the image would be invited to interview. Candidates who were rated as more attractive were also deemed more likely to be invited for an interview. However, in the case of male candidates, the more other men were rated as more attractive, the less likely they were to be invited for an interview. This relative effect was not found to be significant for women candidates. Based on our data, one possible explanation of this difference between men and women is the lack of strong consensus on men’s external appearance. The relative attractiveness premium for men has different implications for frontal and non-frontal positions, as discussed in the conclusions.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2020


  • Discrimination
  • labor market
  • attractiveness
  • relative attractiveness
  • peer effects


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