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Demand for LaborThe Neglected Side of the Market$
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Daniel S. Hamermesh and Corrado Giulietti

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198791379

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198791379.001.0001

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Beauty, Productivity and Discrimination: Lawyers’ Looks and Lucre

Beauty, Productivity and Discrimination: Lawyers’ Looks and Lucre

Chapter:
(p.301) 14 Beauty, Productivity and Discrimination: Lawyers’ Looks and Lucre
Source:
Demand for Labor
Author(s):

Daniel S. Hamermesh

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198791379.003.0014

We propose several models in which an ascriptive characteristic generates earnings differentials and is sorted across sectors. The specific example uses longitudinal data on a large sample of attorneys who graduated from one law school. Beauty is measured by ratings of their matriculation photographs. Better-looking attorneys who graduated in the 1970s earned more after 5 years of practice than their worse-looking classmates, other things equal, an effect that grew even larger by the fifteenth year of practice. There is no impact of beauty on earnings among 1980s graduates. Attorneys in the private sector are better-looking than those in the public sector, with the differences rising as workers sort across sector based on their beauty. Male attorneys’ probability of attaining an early partnership rises with beauty. The results support a theory of dynamic sorting and the role of customer behavior.

Keywords:   Looks discrimination, attorneys, customer discrimination, beauty effects, worker sorting, occupational choice

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