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So Much for That Merit Raise: The Link between Wages and Appearance

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Letter Writer:

Marie-Claire Arsenault, of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, a social development officer for the Canadian government

Date Posted:

June 27, 2005


I loved the article by Kristie M. Engemann and Michael T. Owyang, which looked at the link between appearance and wages. I have a related question that these researchers might be able to help me with, since there may be a correlation. Are wealthy people better looking than the average?
I have a major bet on your answer to this question.
Thank you.

Editor's Note:

As much as we would like to help you with your bet, I’m afraid that there are no useful data that would allow us to answer your question directly. If wealth and earnings were highly correlated, then one could surmise that wealth and looks are related in the same way that earnings and looks are. Wealth and income are, however, not that strongly correlated. A study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis notes that the correlation between earnings and wealth is a “surprisingly low” 0.23. (Javier Díaz-Giménez, Vincenzo Quadrini and José-Víctor Ríos-Rull. “Dimensions of Inequality: Facts on the U.S. Distributions of Earnings, Income, and Wealth.” Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Quarterly Review, Spring 1997, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp 3-21.)