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The Boston Globe

Ideas

Uncommon Knowledge

Why the best athletes are also beautiful

And other surprising insights from the social sciences

The hottie premium

Life is unfair. Not only do the rich get richer, but a new study finds that the beautiful develop more skill. The prettiest golfers in the LPGA—as judged by Americans and Koreans unfamiliar with golf—had better scores and won more tournament prize money, even controlling for experience and early talent. The theory goes like this: “Physically attractive athletes are rewarded more than unattractive athletes for one unit of effort. Being rewarded more, physically attractive athletes devote more effort to improving their productivity. Consequently they become more productive than less attractive athletes with comparable natural athletic talents.”

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