Even with concepts that seem totally non-economic, market forces are crucial. In a new paper, “Beauty Is the Promise of Happiness?”, using data from the U.S., Canada, Germany, and the U.K., my colleague Jason Abrevaya and I show that better-looking people are happier. At least half of the impact arises because better-looking people earn more and obtain spouses who earn more. These are market effects. The total effect of good looks is about the same for men and women; but more of the impact of beauty on happiness among men works through markets, while among women the direct effect — being good-looking per se makes women happier — is more important.
See here for a write-up in USA Today.