Beauty and Flexible Employment in the Digital Age: The Mediating Role of Social Capital

Yufei Mao, Wenxin Hu, Cheng Xu, Yanqi Sun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Flexible employment offers a solution to address issues related to temporary or part-time employment and provides an avenue for expanding job opportunities. However, research on the influence of physical appearance on this emerging type of employment is still in its early stages. Using data from the Chinese Family Panel Studies (CFPS 2020), we investigate the effect of physical appearance on flexible employment in the digital economy. Our findings indicate that physical appearance has a significantly positive effect on flexible employment, with a greater impact on women. Furthermore, we observed differences in the effect of appearance on flexible employment for people of different ages and educational levels. Physical appearance has a stronger effect on young and less-educated men engaged in flexible employment, while physical appearance has a greater impact on young and highly educated women engaged in flexible employment. In terms of underlying mechanisms, physical appearance not only directly affects the likelihood of flexible employment but also indirectly affects individuals through their communication abilities and interpersonal skills, particularly through their social capital. This study provides valuable insights into the ongoing social debate regarding physical appearance and flexible employment, as well as practical implications for practitioners.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Knowledge Economy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Beautiful economics
  • Digital economy
  • Physical appearance
  • Social capital


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