Taller men and slimmer women make more money: artificial intelligence confirms this pay gap

Taller men and slimmer women make more money: artificial intelligence confirms this pay gap

There are many reasons why we discriminate against others. Some are obvious, others not so much. Some receive a lot of media coverage, others are not even mentioned in the media.

One of the most profound discrimination regarding family income and that is rarely taken into account is that related to physical appearance or beauty. A discrimination that has two different forms depending on the sex of the worker: for them, height; for them, thinness .

Deep learning

A new study published in PLOS One has found a relationship between a person’s body shape and their family income. The findings provide further evidence for the "beauty premium," a phenomenon in which people who are physically attractive tend to earn more than their less attractive counterparts .

Suyong Song , an associate professor at the University of Iowa, and his colleagues noted that the measures used to measure physical appearance had some important limitations. For this reason, novel data containing three-dimensional scans of the whole body was used, in addition to employing a state-of-the-art machine learning technique called a graphical automatic encoder.

The researchers thus used deep machine learning methods to identify important physical characteristics in whole-body scans of 2,383 North American people . The data comes from the Civilian American and European Surface Anthropometry Resource (CAESAR) project, a study conducted primarily by the United States Air Force from 1998 to 2000. The dataset included detailed demographic information, tape measure and gauge body measurements, and Three-dimensional digital measurements scans of the entire body of the participants.

The researchers thus estimated that a one centimeter increase in height is associated with an increase of approximately $ 998 in family income for a man who earns 70,000 of the median family income. For women, the researchers estimated that a decrease in obesity of one unit (converted to BMI) is associated with an increase of approximately $ 934 in family income for a woman who earns 70,000 of the family income.

The new study avoids a major limitation of previous research that relied on self-reported attractiveness and body mass index calculations, which do not distinguish between fat, muscle or bone mass. What more strongly confirms the wage gap for beauty, one of many discriminations that people experience based on their physical attractiveness, as you can see in the following video: