Do Looks Matter for an Academic Career in Economics?

50 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2021

See all articles by Galina Hale

Galina Hale

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Tali Regev

IDC

Yona Rubinstein

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Management

Date Written: March 2021

Abstract

We document appearance effects in the economics profession. Using unique data on PhD graduates from ten of the top economics departments in the United States we test whether more attractive individuals are more likely to succeed. We find robust evidence that appearance has predictive power for job outcomes and research productivity. Attractive individuals are more likely to study at higher ranked PhD institutions and are more likely to be placed at higher-ranking academic institutions not only for their first job, but also for jobs as many as 15 years after their graduation, even when we control for the ranking of PhD institution and first job. Appearance also predicts the success of research output: while it does not predict the number of papers an individual writes, it predicts the number of citations for a given number of papers, again even when we control for the ranking of the PhD institution and first job. All these effects are robust, statistically significant, and substantial in magnitude.

JEL Classification: I23, J16, J71, M51

Suggested Citation

Hale, Galina and Regev, Tali and Rubinstein, Yona, Do Looks Matter for an Academic Career in Economics? (March 2021). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP15893, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3805308

Galina Hale (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco ( email )

101 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States
415-974-3131 (Phone)
415-974-2168 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/economists/galina-hale/

Tali Regev

IDC ( email )

Yona Rubinstein

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Management ( email )

United Kingdom

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