What a Barbie's price may be saying

The iconic doll now holds a wide variety of professions. So why do some, like the computer engineer version, cost more?

By Aimee Picchi Apr 2, 2013 1:42PM

Computer Engineer Barbie (WENN.com)Barbie has been a busy achiever since she was first introduced in 1959. 

The Mattel (MAT) doll has held more than 130 careers, ranging from 1993's "Army Ranger" to 2004's "Presidential Candidate." 

But today, certain career Barbies are fetching higher prices than others, and there isn't always a strong correlation with real-world earnings, according to the Economist

For instance, the most expensive doll is now Snowboarder Barbie, which costs about $30, more than double the price of "nurse" Barbie. 

While top competitive snowboarders certainly can earn a tidy sum -- Olympic champion Torah Bright was listed in 2011 as among the top-earning skiers and snowboarders -- most would probably categorize the profession under "slacker."

But the most expensive dolls might shed light on a bigger lesson parents hope to impart to their daughters, Tanya Lee Stone, the author of "The Good, the Bad and the Barbie," tells MSN moneyNOW.  

"The theory that parents hoping to inspire daughters to reach beyond the more stereotypical career choices of teacher or baker (although just as valuable) might be willing to shell out more money for 'computer engineer' or 'architect' Barbie might have real-world merits," Stone notes. 

Computer hardware engineer ranks as one career that both costs more for Barbies and in the real world. The doll costs slightly less than $30, while U.S. median weekly earnings top out near $1,600, according to the Economist. 

Other pricey Barbies include paleontologist, swimming champion, architect and news presenter. 

But some less expensive dolls actually represent fields that pay quite well, such as pilot Barbie, which goes for less than $10. Aircraft pilots, however, earn high weekly wages, just below computer hardware engineers. 

"Women certainly fought hard to break into the aviation field, and we aren't going to take that for granted, are we?" Stone says, noting that she can't see any financial logic for why pilot Barbies would cost less. 

"Perhaps it is simply what the market will bear," she notes, adding that dolls geared for collectors may also push up prices. 

More on moneyNOW

Apr 2, 2013 4:00PM
The most expensive Barbie is "Divorced Barby" She comes with Ken's house, car and bank accounts.
Apr 2, 2013 4:57PM
Someone gave me Investment Banker Barbie for free. Then she fired me, foreclosed on my house, lost my IRA in the stock market, and paid herself a fat bonus.
Apr 2, 2013 2:34PM
ummmm....doesn't it just have to do with how many accessories that particular Barbie may come with???
Apr 2, 2013 6:41PM
Barbie cannot hold a job. She averages 2.417 jobs a year. She  is a bad role model for girls.
Apr 2, 2013 6:53PM
Wouldn't it be cool if they made a Ken doll that was a nurse?
Apr 2, 2013 4:48PM
Perhaps it has to do with the complexity of the costume and accessories? 
Apr 3, 2013 5:42AM
Barbie, at best, is a toy, NOT a political statement...I wish they, whomever, would STOP politicizing everything in sight...
Apr 2, 2013 5:32PM
Oh God!  Please MSN give us better articles!  Another crappy article just like Windows 8!
Apr 2, 2013 4:27PM
I have a NASCAR barbie still in her box..... I got her cheap back in the day. She had grease under her nails and her hair smelled like race fuel.... JK   HAhahahah. It was hard to find her back in the day. I have had many people ask me where I purchased her from. It's one of the few Barbies that men have gone after to collect. 
Apr 3, 2013 3:01PM
I had a gymnast Barbie back in the day....it didn't make me a gymnast. I also had a teacher Barbie and I'm not a teacher either. I used to use my imagination for the others. And my Barbies were the old school ones with the big boobs and tiny waist. Did I want to look like her? Nope. Why? Because it was just a toy. 
Apr 2, 2013 7:39PM
If this were the real world of today Barbie would be working too hard to notice that her metrosexual  boyfriend Ken is having an affair with that rugged he=man, G. I. Joe!
Apr 3, 2013 12:12AM
I think reading a lot of this is just hilarious, Didn't even bother reading the article..Why would I ??
Apr 2, 2013 5:35PM
She should have been elected president in 2008.   We wouldn't have a $17 trillion debt now for sure.
Apr 3, 2013 6:32AM
I got original 1959  barbies  and stuff
Apr 2, 2013 6:53PM

Ode to ‘Barbie’

© 2013 Tony D. McRae


As a boy of 13

I saw my neighbor in the shower

She was wet and 30

And from that very hour

I never played

With G.I. Joe again


Took my paper route money

And bought myself a ‘Barbie’

Brought her to my room

And opened up the carton

And drew on the missing parts

With a felt tip pen


Well I never dared

Let my friends find out

That me and Barbie

Were hangin’ out

They’d all laugh and say

“That just ain’t right”


But I knew they

Wouldn’t understand

Barbie helped me

Become a man

She saw me through

Some awkward teenage nights


I finished growing up

After many a day

And gave up Barbie

Along the way

Just another memory

In the corners of my mind


But I know I’ll always

Keep a tender, soft spot

For that tiny blonde woman

In that little pink box

No one else

Ever treated me so kind


As a boy of 13

I saw my neighbor in the shower.

Apr 3, 2013 6:45PM

I would love to see a ballheaded Barbi for little girls battling cancer..They could come with different wigs & the little head scarfs,,This would help the little girls feel better about themselfs,,I for one had cancer 3 times....Please cnnsider.....THANK YOU


Apr 2, 2013 6:51PM
Apr 2, 2013 8:44PM
Why is msn running such silly stoies when the national and world news is downplayed or even ignored.
Apr 3, 2013 5:26AM

I saw a Barbie cake at a bake shop. It had Barbie with a cake ball gown skirt. That was the moment I realized that my brain was not my friend because my first thought was: "who gets to lick the frosting off Barbie?"

Wrong. funny, but Wrong. LOL

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