Fun-with-Evidence Friday: Pretty quarterbacks make more money.
These days, faces that are symmetrical are recognized as the prettiest (some even claim they're the healthiest). Still, it's hard for me to picture two young women in a bar saying "Wow, check out the symmetry on that guy!" But I digress.
Now there's new evidence about NFL quarterbacks. Turns out, not only do they get to be sports gods and make McDonald's commercials -- the ones who are especially symmetrical (formerly known as "good-looking") also make more money. These findings appear in the latest edition of the NY Times' excellent sports magazine, Play.* David J. Berri writes "Players are evaluated solely on their ability to contribute to wins, right? Not entirely. The economists Rob Simmons, Jennifer VanGilder and I collected data on 121 N.F.L. quarterbacks who played from 1995 to 2006. We looked at the factors that determine player pay — career statistics, experience, Pro Bowl appearances and draft position — as well as the symmetry of each quarterback’s face. Sure enough, symmetry had a positive impact on a quarterback’s salary. Specifically, an increase of one standard deviation in facial symmetry led to a nearly 8 percent increase in pay."
*The N.F.L. 2008: Big Brain Edition appears in print in this Sunday's New York Times. I highly recommend Play.