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The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: Teaching Evaluations, Beauty And Abilities

Author

Listed:
  • Michela Ponzo

    ()

  • Vincenzo Scoppa

    () (Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica, Università della Calabria)

Abstract

Using data from an Italian University we relate student evaluations of teaching quality to physical attractiveness of instructors, controlling for a number of teachers’ and courses’ characteristics. We first show that the beauty of teachers strongly affects teaching evaluations. To investigate whether the impact is due to productivity or discrimination, that is, if the better evaluations obtained by good-looking instructors are determined by their possess of greater abilities or by Becker-type customer discrimination, we propose a simple theoretical framework and build a measure of teachers’ abilities that is used as control in the empirical model explaining teaching evaluations. We show that beauty affects teaching evaluations even controlling for ability, suggesting that customer discrimination is the key factor explaining the role of beauty.

Suggested Citation

  • Michela Ponzo & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2012. "The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: Teaching Evaluations, Beauty And Abilities," Working Papers 201204, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
  • Handle: RePEc:clb:wpaper:201204
    as

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    File URL: http://www.ecostat.unical.it/RePEc/WorkingPapers/WP04_2012.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2012-03
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Naci Mocan & Erdal Tekin, 2010. "Ugly Criminals," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(1), pages 15-30, February.
    2. Giam Pietro Cipriani & Angelo Zago, 2011. "Productivity or Discrimination? Beauty and the Exams," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 73(3), pages 428-447, June.
    3. Markus M. Mobius & Tanya S. Rosenblat, 2006. "Why Beauty Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 222-235, March.
    4. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
    5. Maria De Paola, 2009. "Does Teacher Quality Affect Student Performance? Evidence From An Italian University," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(4), pages 353-377, October.
    6. William E. Becker & William Bosshardt & Michael Watts, 2012. "How Departments of Economics Evaluate Teaching," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(3), pages 325-333, July.
    7. Anindya Sen & Marcel-Cristian Voia & Frances R. Woolley, 2010. "Hot or Not: How Appearance Affects Earnings and Productivity in Academia," Carleton Economic Papers 10-07, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
    8. Fletcher, Jason M., 2009. "Beauty vs. brains: Early labor market outcomes of high school graduates," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 105(3), pages 321-325, December.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Shocking: Attractive Professors Get Better Student Evaluations
      by Christopher Shea in Ideas Market on 2012-04-11 00:49:51

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    Cited by:

    1. Deryugina, Tatyana & Shurchkov, Olga, 2015. "Now you see it, now you don’t: The vanishing beauty premium," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 331-345.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Beauty; Discrimination; Teaching Quality; Subjective Evaluations;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination

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