New research conducted by the US-based National Bureau of Economic Research has found that children of conventionally attractive parents earn more than those from average-looking families. The study, titled ‘The Economic Impact of Heritable Physical Traits: Hot Parents, Rich Kid?’, delved into the relationship between parents’ attractiveness and their offspring’s financial success. Researchers looked at families in both the United States and China, as well as among billionaires worldwide. They examined previous datasets which tracked the attractiveness of parents and their children and the subsequent earnings of the latter.
The attractiveness of parents and children was rated by other people, rather than determined by mathematical measurements such as facial symmetry. The study revealed that, for every standard deviation above the average looks of their parents, a child’s annual earnings surged by over $2,300.
In an interview with EuroNews, Economist Daniel Hamermesh, a key contributor to the report, said that beyond conventional assets like property and savings, good looks could be considered an inherited asset, contributing to enhanced income across generations. “Better-looking people are more likely to be financially and professionally successful throughout their lives,” Mr Hamermesh said.
“It’s twofold, your parents being good-looking makes you look good-looking, and that helps you do well. But it’s also because if your parents were good-looking, that means they have more money to give you,” the study author added.
Mr Hamermesh studied the link between success and good looks for more than 10 years. He repeatedly found that attractive individuals are more likely to be employed and receive higher salaries than their less attractive counterparts.
The study author acknowledged the findings were “very depressing”. “It’s exactly the same as any other kind of discrimination,” he said.
However, Mr Hamermesh is hopeful that the research findings will make people more aware of their bias towards better-looking people and make them more likely to correct it. “If you’re conscious of the fact that you’re discriminating, you’re much less likely to do so,” he said. “I think just making people aware of something like this reduces its detrimental impact,” he added.