Publication Date

2012-06-25

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2012-06-25

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Sociology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2012-05-02

First Committee Member

Michael T. French

Second Committee Member

Olena Antonaccio

Third Committee Member

Philip K. Robins

Abstract

Extant research indicates a wage premium for attractive individuals and a wage penalty for homelier individuals. In addition, further research has showed that being well-groomed and having a pleasant personality was associated with a wage premium and partially mediated the effects of beauty alone. The purpose of this thesis is to extend this line of research and to examine the impact of erotic capital on annual earnings among young women. Erotic capital is the combination of six personal and inter-personal assets: beauty, sexual attractiveness, social skills, social presentation, liveliness, and sexuality. I constructed an index of erotic capital, incorporating all six of these characteristics and evaluated its impact on annual earnings using data from Wave IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). After running several OLS regression models and testing for robustness, results from this study indicated that there was a statistically significant erotic capital premium for young women. Women with higher levels of erotic capital earned on average 2.4% more annually than their counterparts with lower levels of erotic capital. This finding is a significant contribution to the social sciences and to economics, and is consistent with the theory of erotic capital. These results are an important contribution, as they indicate that factors other than facial beauty and cognitive traits do impact earnings, while reinforcing the significance of grooming and personality on earnings.

Keywords

Earnings; Beauty; Erotic Capital; Women; Social Presentation; Waist Circumference

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