Beauty and the Sources of Discrimination

Michele Belot, V. Bhaskar, Jeroen van de Ven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We analyze discrimination against less attractive people on a TV game show with high stakes. The game has a rich structure that allows us to disentangle the relationship between attractiveness and the determinants of a player's earnings. Unattractive players perform no worse than attractive ones, and are equally cooperative in the prisoner's dilemma stage of the game. Nevertheless, they are substantially more likely to be eliminated by their peers, even though this is costly We investigate third party perceptions of discrimination by asking subjects to predict elimination decisions. Subjects implicitly assign a role for attractiveness but underestimate its magnitude.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)851-872
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Human Resources
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • discrimination
  • beauty premium


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