Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Economic Benefits of Beauty

Does beauty cause happiness? In “Beauty Is the Promise of Happiness”? Daniel S. Hamermesh and Jason Abrevaya argue that "The majority of the effect of beauty on happiness may work through its effects on
economic outcomes." If this is universal, as they argue, we should expect to see the correlations exhibited in literature, insofar as literature is a mirror on the (human) world. Thus, we should see exhibited in literature the following:

1. Personal beauty raises happiness.

2. The majority of this positive effect comes about because personal beauty improves economic outcomes – incomes, marriage prospects, and others – that increase happiness. Thus much of the positive effect of beauty on happiness is indirect – through its effects on aspects of economic life that increase happiness.

3. The total effects of beauty on happiness are about the same for men and women. But the direct effect is larger among women – beauty affects their happiness independent of its impact on their incomes, marriage prospects, and other outcomes.
Considering the fact that literature is about problems, one should not be surprised to find these claims both confirmed and problemetized.

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