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Men with Above-Average Looks Earn More, Study Finds

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SYDNEY) -- Good-looking men not only have a better shot with women than guys with below-average looks, they also apparently command higher salaries.

Research in Australia conducted by Melbourne University economist Jeff Borland and former Australian National University economist Andrew Leigh shows guys with above-average looks earned around $33,000 more than men who got short-changed in the looks department.

The study, published in the Sydney Morning Herald, shows handsome men typically scored salaries around $85,802 while men with below-average looks earned an average of $52,058.

Borland and Leigh’s research was conducted with interviewers who went door-to-door and rated their interviewees on a six-point scale from “very much more attractive than average” to “well below average.”  The interviewers were also asked to rate photos of men.

The study found that a “plainless penalty” had more of an impact on salaries than a “beauty premium.”  Men whose looks were rated as below-average by the interviewers earned approximately 26 percent less than average.  On the flip side, handsome men earned 22 percent more than average.

Borland and Leigh say while there is a similar effect with women, the salary differential is smaller and harder to measure.

The research found that guys rated as having below-average looks had lower chances of being employed and when they were employed, typically had lower wages.  Those men were also less likely to be married and had lower chances of being married to a woman with a high income.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio