Looks = $$$
Here's an article on a study that addresses part of that topic.
This topic comes to mind whenever I do work in different stores. Stores in nicer areas overall have a more attractive clientele. That's not to say everyone in the upscale suburban store is pretty or that there are no attractive people in the run-down urban store. But on the average it seems to hold true and colleagues who work in different stores have noticed the same thing.
So back to the chicken and egg thing. Is it that pretty people are more successful, possibly from a combination of a positive social bias and greater confidence? Or is it because people with more money or than come from families with more money are healthier, take better care of themselves, dress better, and have the time and resources for more cosmetic concerns?
I mean, would anyone look twice at Paris Hilton if she was a trailer park instead of a billion-dollar-family? Besides her Uncle Bubba Joe, that is.
I could make a self-depreciating crack about how this limits my economic future, but I already know that's bullshit. I've repeatedly turned down promotions, so I can't claim to be limited by my looks. So instead I'll tell a true story.
Many years ago, my General Manager hired me an assistant, which was good because I needed an assistant. Then I met said assistant, and she was... how to put it politely... hot. While to a certain degree I was pleased that my GM had hired me a smoking hot assistant, I also knew it would be more trouble than it was worth.
Then I found out that my GM had hired in my new hot assistant at a higher wage than mine. I have a knack for finding stuff out, and it doesn't help keep things secret when people left documents lying out in the open. So I posted up my GM and got a big fat raise out of it.
And the hot assistant? After two weeks of distracting the rest of my team, she quit. Because hot or not, I expected her to do the work involved in the position, and that was, well, work.