Economia della bellezza

Economics of beauty – Nothing is Sacred: Economic Ideas for the New Millennium by Robert J. Barro

Vi ricordate i tempi in cui le hostess erano delle sventole?

Oggi non è più così. Per molti è un progresso, per gli economisti un regresso

… In times past, stewardesses were usually attractive women, and this arrangement added to the pleasure of many air travelers, usually men. By the 1990s, however, stewardesses had become flight attendants, who were much less likely to be attractive and were sometimes even male. Many people view these changes as progress…

L’unica cosa che conta – per l’economista – è la soddisfazione del cliente

… Is it not a good thing if flight attendants are selected by job skills-meaning the ability to serve people well and to carry out safety procedures efficiently-and not at all on physical appearance? I would say no. The only meaningful measure of productivity is the amount that a worker adds to customer satisfaction (and, hence, to willingness to pay)… I would say no. The only meaningful measure of productivity is the amount that a worker adds to customer satisfaction…

Da questo punto di vista non c’è differenza tra bellezza e intelligenza

… A worker’s physical appearance-to the extent that this characteristic is valued by customers and coworkers-is as legitimate a job qualification as intelligence, dexterity, job experience, personality, and so on…

Perché discriminare in base all’intelligenza e non in base alla bellezza?…

… it makes no sense to say that employment and wages based on physical appearance is a form of discrimination, whereas employment and wages based on intelligence is something else. The two cases are fundamentally the same…

A questo doppiopesismo si aggiunge quello relativo alle aree di lavoro: in alcuni settori gli attacchi alla bellezza cessano miracolosamente…

… Most people (and the law) accept this approach to beauty for some fields, for example, for movie and television personalities and modeling… But the difference between glamour fields and others in terms of the role of physical appearance is merely a matter of degree…

Anche se ormai anche nei settori salvaguardati la bellezza viene perseguitata …

… The legitimacy of beauty as a job qualification even for movies and television was challenged in the litigious 1990s. In a celebrated court case in 1998, a jury determined that Hunter Tylo was, despite being pregnant, sufficiently attractive to appear on the television program…

Giusto le recenti vittorie legali degli hotel di  Hooters lasciano ben sperare l’economista…

… Some solace can be taken from the 1997 settlement involving the restaurant chain Hooters. This agreement allowed the company to continue to limit its wait staff to attractive young women….

***

Il lavoro di Dan Hamermesh ci dice molto come la bellezza sul posto di lavoro non si lasci neutralizzare tanto facilmente: essere belli rende…

… A number of research studies have documented that beautiful people do better in life. Dan Hamermesh and his coworkers have used subjective information on appearance based on opinions of interviewers or of researchers looking at photographs.’… the wage differential between attractive and ugly people is around 9 percent for women and 14 percent for men… A study by Susan Averett and Sanders Korenman measures attractiveness by body weight and finds that obesity lowers wages by similar amounts for women (12 percent) and men (9 percent)….

L’obesità è ancor più penalizzata, forse perché segnala salute precaria…

… obesity may matter because of its correlation with other characteristics, such as health status and degree of self-control, rather than just for physical appearance…

***

Una cosa da spiegare: la discriminazione in base alla bellezza viene combattuta con solerzia dove conta poco, sul lavoro per esempio. Dove invece pesa parecchio in termini economici non si osa interferire: nel mercato dei matrimoni, per esempio…

… The problem is that discrimination in the marriage market has historically been much more important for women than discrimination in the job market… discrimination in the marriage market has historically been much more important for women than discrimination in the job market. Perhaps these researchers should have recommended an extension of the ADA to the marriage market…

***

Domanda: conta di più la bellezza relativa o quella assoluta?…

… A more difficult issue is whether beauty counts in a relative or absolute sense. For instance, if everyone were suddenly to become more attractive, as judged by current standards, would we all be happier?…

Parlando di altezza sembrerebbe contare quella relativa…

… Height is an example of a trait that is mainly relative…

Se davvero fosse così perché non tassare pesantemente i cosmetici?: sono responsabili di un gran spreco di risorse…

… However, if beauty is only relative, then these investments are socially wasteful, and the government could rationalize a policy to discourage such expenditures. This line of reasoning could support taxes on cosmetics, hair coloring, antibaldness treatments, breast implants, high-heeled shoes, and so on… taxes on cosmetics,… antibaldness treatments, breast implants, high-heeled shoes, and so on. But even in this case, it would be valuable to allocate beauty across sectors in an efficient manner, and, hence, it would still be reasonable for wages to reflect a beauty premium. Thus, more argument would be needed to expand the ADA to include ugliness as a socially protected disability. Perhaps the best idea is for the government to stay out of the beauty arena…

Ma se rilevasse la bellezza relativa, allora stare in una sperduta periferia americana sarebbe come stare a Firenze.

Meglio riconoscere che conta la bellezza assoluta e non tassare la chirurgia estetica.

 

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