July 23, 2003

Professorial Pulchritude

This is not good news for my planned teaching career.

Daniel Hamermesh and Amy M. Parker, " Beauty in the Classroom: Professors' Pulchritude and Putative Pedagogical Productivity", NBER Working Paper [PDF via Repec]

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.

One hopes for a follow-up study, testing the hypothesis that the effect is mediated through student crushes.

The Dismal Science

Posted at July 23, 2003 17:17 | permanent link

Three-Toed Sloth