An attractive appearance acts as a lever for social ascension – at least according to a US study.
Good-looking ones are known to receive many benefits from their appearance. Now research in the Social Science Quarterly shows that an attractive face is also one of the engines of social rise.
University of Oslo Alexi Gugushvili and the Polish Academy of Sciences Grzegorz Bulczak used data on US youth who had been followed and interviewed at different times from the 1990s to the 2010s as the material for their research.
As part of the follow-up, those who interviewed the young people had assessed their appearance when they were 12–19 years old.
The research duo found that those rated as attractive or very attractive were more likely to have higher education, higher incomes and more prestigious occupations than their parents.
An attractive appearance helped both sexes, but more men.
Good looks gave men an advantage in all avenues of social ascent.
“This suggests that for men, good looks play a significant role in professional success, whether it’s getting a raise, a promotion, or getting into desired jobs,” explains Gugushvili CNBC-median in the interview.
Women benefited from attractive appearance in terms of education and income, although less so than men. On the other hand, appearance did not play a role in women’s professional advancement.
Researchers think that income and education depend more on the subjective assessments of employers and teachers than entering a certain profession. Appearance can affect these estimates.
Gugushvili and Bulczak consider it possible that their results may be influenced by the fact that the study was conducted in the United States. The pattern may be different in societies with less economic and gender inequality.
“It would be interesting to see if the same thing prevails in more equal countries such as Finland or Denmark,” Gugushvili says.