Forbes, a rag a step below Us Weekly in terms of its fixation on the Jenner-Kardashian family, ran a headline today asking the following: “Are Billionaires Hotter? Economists Study Whether The Ultra-Rich Are More Attractive.” The answer was “yes,” according to a fake-sounding paper called “‘Beauty Too Rich for Use’: Billionaires’ Assets and Attractiveness” published by the slightly more real-sounding National Bureau of Economic Research. The catch? The population surveyed for the paper was composed of just 16 Australian college students who were asked to rank members of Forbes’s 2008 Billionaire List on a scale of “very beautiful” to “not beautiful at all.”
Many social science studies draw sweeping conclusions based on the whims of a small sampling of hungover undergrads, but that’s not my problem with the research.
My concern is more, are these 16 college students okay, mentally speaking? Far be it from me to rag on anyone else’s looks, but Warren Buffett topped that list in 2008. Another recognizable American, Bill Gates, was number three. Hubba hubba!
“If beauty matters on average, those who are way above average have been pushed up there partly by their beauty,” a German labor economics researcher told Forbes to sum up the study.
We will need an entirely different researcher, perhaps in the field of developmental psychology, to assess the state of mind these 16 Australian college students were in when they were aroused by the figure Warren Buffett cuts in his sharp little suit while dining at his favorite Omaha steakhouse.