Beauty Pays? Yes, Says Labor Economist Daniel S. Hamermesh By Phil Andriole (ILR, ’14)

Guest Lecture, economist Daniel S. Hamermesh
Cornell University - ILR School: Institute for Compensation Studiesâ„¢: Compensating for beauty
Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Daniel S. Hamermesh, author of Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People are More Successful, spoke with Professor Kevin Hallock's Pay (ILRHR 2020) class via video conference on October 15th. Hamermesh is Professor of Economics at the University of Texas at Austin, Fellow of the Econometric Society, research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and has served as president of the Society of Labor Economists.

Professor Hamermesh provided a lively and stimulating discussion of the various impacts attractiveness has on jobs, pay, and other life factors such as marriage. By walking the class through several studies, Professor Hamermesh, brought to life "seemingly trivial abstract concepts with quantifiable data and statistics," according to Ronnie Anderson (ILR, '14), a student in Professor Hallock's class. Professor Hamermesh also connected beauty to firm profitability as in the case of companies who build a competitive advantage by employing their attractive workers as customer-facing representatives and assign their less attractive workers to lower visibility tasks.

After viewing a Daily Show clip featuring Professor Hamermesh, many students echoed the thoughts of Ivan Chaykovskiy (ILR, '13): "I wish he was at Cornell. He has a great sense of humor." Professor Hamermesh's lecture entertained, but also informed.