Very Unattractive People Earn Significantly More Money, Study Says
Beautiful people arguably have an easier life -- they're happier, healthier, and have more friends. But a new study turns this theory on its head.
It's no secret that life can be easier for beautiful people. Studies have shown being good-looking has benefits for your health, intelligence and helps with making friends.
Being physically attractive can also literally pay off, as many people believe it can mean you make more money. In short, beautiful people are more confident, have more social skills and are seen as more able by employers, which translates to higher wages.
However, a recent study, published in the Journal of Business and Psychology, has found there is a caveat to this "beauty premium."
Satoshi Kanazawa from the London School of Economics and Political Science and Mary Still from the University of Massachusetts in Boston analysed data from a study of 20,000 young Americans. They were interviewed and measured on physical attractiveness at age 16 then three more times until they were 29.
The findings showed that the theory there is a "ugliness penalty" on wages isn't that simple. When other traits were taken into account, such as health and intelligence, results showed people who were more conscientious, extroverted and less neurotic earned significantly more than others.
Also, participants who were labeled as "very unattractive" always earned more than those who were just "unattractive." This was also sometimes the case when very unattractive people were compared to those who were average-looking and attractive.
Alex Fradera offers an explanation for this in BPS Digest. He said the personality trait "Openness to Experience" may have been surprisingly correlated with lower earnings and higher attractiveness in this particular data set, when it is usually associated with higher pay.
"Could this Openness-attractiveness association be an indicator that some of the very unattractive scored especially low on Openness, and were perhaps highly devoted to a specific topic area, pursuing it obsessively to the exclusion of all distractions and eventually entering the forefront of their field?" he wrote. "We know that Openness correlates negatively with the passion component of 'Grit,' so such effects are conceivable."
Still said the methods of previous studies may not have accounted for the really ugly people because the "very unattractive" and "unattractive" are often lumped in together in one group.
"Thereby they fail to document the ugliness premium enjoyed by the very unattractive workers," she said.
Entrepreneur Editors' Picks
'No One Believed' This Black Founder Was the Owner of a Liquor Brand in 2012. He Launched to Great Acclaim — Then Lost It All. Here's How He Made a Multi-Million-Dollar Comeback.
Inspired by Elon Musk's Twitter Takeover, Here Are 10 Marketing Tactics That Will Help You Make the Most of Big Changes to Your Company
These Brothers Transformed a High School Project Into the Largest Online Soccer Retailer of All Time. Here's What the World Cup Means for Business Now.
'I Just Lost All My Life Savings': Michigan Woman Lost $15,000 in Facebook Marketplace Car Scam
This Founder Was Dismayed by Food Waste in the Restaurant Industry, So She Started a Zero-Waste Grocery Line That Now Caters Events for Nike
Netflix's Secret Club Allows Members to Preview Content Before Anyone Else — But There's a Catch
Franchising Could Be the Secret to Reaping the Rewards of a Down Economy. Here Are 5 Reasons Why.