Pretty Integrated? The Causes and Consequences of Immigrants’ Physical Attractiveness on Integration Outcomes

Research question/goal: 

The project investigates the causes and consequences of perceptions of physical attractiveness in the context of immigrant integration. Physical attractiveness has been shown to be a key determinant of life chances in various domains, as attractive people are generally treated more favourably. But everyday perceptions of physical attractiveness may themselves be shaped by cultural distance, ethnic boundaries, and interaction frequency, thus affecting how attractive members of different groups perceive one another. Given that physical attractiveness on the one hand may be a determinant of integration mechanisms but on the other hand is itself subject to social construction, this project examines the link between immigrants’ perceived physical attractiveness and their economic integration.

Current stage: 

In 2023, we presented the research results of our secondary data analyses using data from the German Family Panel (pairfam) at several international conferences. A first article, titled ‘Pretty unequal? Immigrant-native differences in returns to physical attractiveness in Germany’, was published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. Also, a handbook chapter on field experiments focussing on discrimination has been submitted for a Handbook of Quantitative Methods in Sociology as part of the Edward Elgar Research Handbooks in Sociology series. A manuscript on the effect of beauty on labour market outcomes in Germany is still under review. The project is currently in the stage of data collection (two factorial surveys and one correspondence test), and we are also preparing a manuscript evaluating different scales to measure attractiveness in surveys.

Fact sheet

2019 to 2025
Data Sources: 
ALLBUS, pairfam and own data collection: factorial survey experiments, correspondence test
Geographic Space: