Appearance matters for academic success, that too in economics: Study

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February 14, 2021 11:51 AM

Moreover, good appearance might increase a person's chances of being invited as a co-author, the paper said.

physical appearance and educationThe paper said more surprisingly, appearance also predicts research productivity on the job.

Appearance does matter for an individual’s academic success, at least when it comes to economics, and attractive individuals are more likely to study at higher-ranked institutions, according to a research paper.

In a paper titled, ‘Do Looks Matter for an Academic Career in Economics?’, authors Galina Hale (University of California, Santa Cruz),Tali Regev (Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya) and Yona Rubinstein (London School of Economics) said that appearance matters for job outcomes.

“We find that appearance matters for individuals’ academic success in a persistent way,” the authors said.

The research paper constructed a data set of 752 individuals who graduated from ten of the top economics departments in the United States between 2002 and 2006.

“Attractive individuals are more likely to study at higher ranked PhD institutions, are more likely to find themselves in private sector jobs than in government jobs or in academia,” the paper noted.

Within academia, it said attractive PhD graduates are more likely to be placed at higher ranking institutions.

The paper said more surprisingly, appearance also predicts research productivity on the job.

“Papers written by attractive individuals are cited more often.

“All these effects are not only statistically significant but are also substantial in magnitude,” it said.

The paper said even though much academic work is conducted individually, appearance may influence success because labor market outcomes depend on human interactions.

Moreover, good appearance might increase a person’s chances of being invited as a co-author, the paper said, adding the nature of the academic job requires human interactions, and humans care about appearance.

“In this way, academia is not so different from other industries,” it said.

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