Does Beauty Equal Happiness?

Photo: Jupiterimages

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.


So, since they earn more, they're happier. Beauty won't make you happy, but it is a medium to achieve mone... I mean, happiness itself...


I've often thought that pier. More attractive people have more choice in potential mates, therefor more opportunities to second guess if he or she made the right choice. I would be interested to see statistics for attractive people and divorce rates.

Anita Farrar

Sad comment on the values inherent in today's society. Was it the silver screen that inculcated this or does the silver screen simply present what it sees reflected in today's society? Mhmmm.


Who in the data was deemed good-looking, what was the determining factor behind whether a person was selected as good looking or ugly ?


Are better looking people happier or are happier people better looking?


Looks has nothing to do with happiness ... happiness is found when you find pleasure in what life has to offer and see humor in every situation good or bad ... looks is just a cherry on top not the cake itself!


This just reminds me why I'm so sad... thanks!


This is great! I write about this in my BEAUTY IS ONLY SKIN DEEP post.


Just goes to show that surveys and statistics can be made to prove almost anything. The metric missing here is that of measuring happiness. And that of beauty. Is being pretty defined as beautiful. And was the survey sponsored by a cosmetics firm? :)


For men, it does because it's hard to keep women wanting them more. Most of the time women will stray if he's ugly. And men get very possessive and overbearing because of this.


Every pot has a lid.

human mathematics

(And the spouses who earn more would be more beautiful as well. File that under the same half as their own earnings and spouses' earnings.)