In October 2021, Daniel Hamermesh, Distinguished Scholar and instructor of economics, published new research in the National Bureau of Economic Research titled, “Beauty Too Rich for Use”*: Billionaires’ Assets and Attractiveness.” In this working paper, Hamermesh and his co-author, Andrew Leigh (Member of Parliament, Australia), examine the potential connection between the net worth of over 700 billionaires and their education and perceived physical attractiveness. 

By conducting a survey in which facial attractiveness was rated by sixteen people of different genders and ethnicities, Hamermesh and Leigh concluded that while the billionaires were considered better looking than average for their age, among them net worth was not strongly correlated with their perceived attractiveness. However, more surprisingly, the researchers also found that their financial assets were not correlated with their educational attainment, even though billionaires are much more educated than other people. But men, people who reside in Western countries, and those who inherited significant family wealth become the wealthiest billionaires.