Beauty Premium Experiment
We conducted a trust game experiment to investigate whether women are trusted more when they wear makeup than when they do not. Facial attractiveness, which was manipulated through the application of makeup by a professional makeup artist, was measured before and after makeovers. Trustors were shown a photograph of their female counterparts before they made decisions about money transfers to trustees. The results showed that wearing makeup increased perceived attractiveness, which in turn led trustors to make larger transfers to female trustees during the trust game. Additionally, we discovered a pure makeup premium that was mediated by gender. Specifically, female trustees with makeup received larger transfers than female trustees without makeup when the trustors were men, even after controlling for female trustees’ levels of attractiveness. Hypothesis 1: Wearing makeup increases perceived attractiveness. Hypothesis 2: Wearing makeup increases perceived trustworthiness. Hypothesis 3: Trustees with makeup receive larger transfers in the trust game than trustees without makeup. Hypothesis 4: Male trustors transfer more money to women with makeup than female trustors. Hypothesis 5: The makeup effect is larger in magnitude for less attractive female trustees.