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Beauty in the Classroom: Professors' Pulchritude and Putative Pedagogical Productivity

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  • Daniel Hamermesh
  • Amy M. Parker

Abstract

Adjusted for many other determinants, beauty affects earnings; but does it lead directly to the differences in productivity that we believe generate earnings differences? We take a large sample of student instructional ratings for a group of university professors, acquire six independent measures of their beauty and a number of other descriptors of them and their classes. Instructors who are viewed as better looking receive higher instructional ratings, with the impact of a move from the 10th to the 90th percentile of beauty being substantial. This impact exists within university departments and even within particular courses, and is larger for male than for female instructors. Disentangling whether this outcome represents productivity or discrimination is, as with the issue generally, probably impossible.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9853.

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Date of creation: Jul 2003
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Publication status: published as "Beauty in the Classroom: Instructors' Pulchritude and Putative Pedagogical Productivity" Hamermesh, Daniel S.; Parker, Amy; Economics of Education Review, August 2005, v. 24, iss. 4, pp. 369-76
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9853

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  1. George J. Borjas, 2000. "Foreign-Born Teaching Assistants and the Academic Performance of Undergraduates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 355-359, May.
  2. Moore, William J & Newman, Robert J & Turnbull, Geoffrey K, 1998. "Do Academic Salaries Decline with Seniority?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(2), pages 352-66, April.
  3. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994. "Beauty and the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1174-94, December.
  4. Biddle, Jeff E & Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1998. "Beauty, Productivity, and Discrimination: Lawyers' Looks and Lucre," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 172-201, January.
  5. Siegfried, John J & White, Kenneth J, 1973. "Financial Rewards to Research and Teaching: A Case Study of Academic Economists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(2), pages 309-15, May.
  6. Edward P. Lazear, 2001. "Educational Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(3), pages 777-803, August.
  7. Michael Watts & William E. Becker, 1999. "How Departments of Economics Evaluate Teaching," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 344-349, May.
  8. Belton Fleisher & Masanori Hashimoto & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2002. "Foreign GTAs Can Be Effective Teachers of Economics," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(4), pages 299-325, December.
  9. David E. Kaun, 1984. "Faculty advancement in a nontraditional university environment," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 37(4), pages 592-606, July.
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  1. Being a Scientist
    by Jonathan Finegold in Economic Thought on 2013-03-11 21:57:26
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Cited by:
  1. Dinda, Soumyananda & Gangopadhyay, P.K. & Chattopadhyay, B.P. & Saiyed, H.N. & Pal, M. & Bharati, P., 2006. "Height, weight and earnings among coalminers in India," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 342-350, December.
  2. Heather E. Campbell & Karen Gerdes & Sue Steiner, 2005. "What's looks got to do with it? Instructor appearance and student evaluations of teaching," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(3), pages 611-620.
  3. Gaviria Alejandro & Alejandro Hoyos, 2008. "Determinantes de los resultados de las evaluaciones de profesores: el caso de la Universidad de los Andes," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  4. Linda Loury, 2006. "Schooling, Skin Tone, and Attractiveness: Beauty Makes Skin Seem Deep," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0620, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  5. Wenshu Gao & Russell Smyth, 2009. "Health Human Capital, Height and Wages in China," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 05-09, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  6. Giam Pietro Cipriani & Angelo Zago, 2005. "Productivity or Discrimination? Beauty and the Exams," Working Papers 18, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
  7. John J. Donohue III, 2005. "The Law and Economics of Antidiscrimination Law," NBER Working Papers 11631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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