Good Grooming Can Increase Your Income

It is well understood that personal grooming provides an important source of communication about individuals, their values and personalities. From an economic point of view, grooming is a non-market activity. The standard view is that time spent in non-market activities is counterproductive as it reduces work effort and job commitment. But grooming is different. There is reason to believe that certain productive personality traits may be inferred on the basis of personal grooming. Using data from the American Time Use survey, we investigate whether workers who spend more time grooming earn higher wages. The evidence shows that while higher levels of grooming time increases wages for men, there is no significant effect on women’s wages. We also find evidence that the returns to grooming are even larger for minority males.

Source: “Mirror, mirror on the wall: The effect of time spent grooming on wages” from Elon University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2008-01.

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