Looking at Labor

by Elaine Schwartz    •    Sep 5, 2011    •    622 Views

What if a physical trait meant you will earn $230,000 less during a lifetime?  

According to one study, a person who was in the bottom one-seventh for looks earned 10% to 15% less than people who were in the top one-third. In a NY Times column, a University of Texas econ professor focuses on how a worker’s looks can affect his or her earnings.

Here, in a New Yorker article, you can see how height also affects income. One researcher concluded that during 30 years at work, an average six-footer earns $165,000 more than someone who is 5’5″.

The Economic Lesson

Economist Alan Kreuger, President Obama’s nominee to chair the Council of Economic Advisers, has researched labor issues ranging from the minimum wage to job search time by the unemployed to the jobs market for graduates of Ivy League schools.

A leading labor economist, if confirmed by the Senate, he will chair a council composed of 2 appointees and himself. Their responsibilities include the creation of the annual President’s Economic Report as well as policy recommendations and assessment.  This Washington Post article provides an ideal summary of his academic work.

An Economic Question: To gain insight about lowering the current unemployment rate, what labor-related research topics might be important?

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