DP6276 Insidious Discrimination? Disentangling the Beauty Premium on a Game Show

Author(s): Michèle Belot, Venkataraman Bhaskar, Jeroen Van de Ven
Publication Date: April 2007
Keyword(s): beauty premium, discrimination
JEL(s): C93, D63, J15, J16
Programme Areas: Labour Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=6276

This paper analyzes behaviour on a TV game show where players' monetary payoffs depend upon an array of factors, including ability in answering questions, perceived cooperativeness and the willingness of other players to choose them. We find a substantial beauty premium and are able to disentangle contributing factors. Attractive players perform no differently from less attractive ones, on every dimension. They also exhibit and engender the same degree of cooperativeness. Nevertheless, attractive players are substantially less likely to be eliminated by their peers. Our results suggest a consumption value basis for the beauty premium, and it appears that this is a form of insidious discrimination.