As if attractive people don’t already enjoy enough advantages in life, here’s another: a study by researchers at Barnard College found that good-looking kids do better in school.
Published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the study included kids from the U.S. and U.k. and found that kids whose looks were rated one standard deviation above average enjoyed nearly five months of schooling compared to their less attractive counterparts.
Translation: good-looking kids perform better on academic tests in ways similar to kids who have received additional schooling. Moreover, these results remained the same regardless of a child’s race or economic background.
The question, of course, is why. The study’s lead author, economist Daniel Hamermesh, tested several theories, each of which did in fact help to explain the education gap.
One theory demonstrated that less attractive kids get bullied more, which leads to an unhealthy relationship between the child and the school environment.
Additionally, teachers reported stronger relationships with good-looking kids, which suggests these kids received additional and more favorable attention from instructors. Lastly, researchers found that schools reported fewer behavioral issues with attractive kids.
Much of this data jibes with similar studies into the adult world, which have shown that attractive people, among other things, enjoy higher salaries, more consistent callbacks for followup interviews, greater numbers of promotions, and a belief by coworkers that they are smarter.
Hamermesh and his fellow researchers point out that their findings, though important, fail to fully explain the education gap enjoyed by handsome kids and that more research is needed.
One thing Hamermesh does believe that educational tilt helps explain: why attractive people in general earn more. Says Hamermesh: “20 to as much as 80 percent of the economic returns to beauty arise from its prior indirect effects on educational attainment.”