Friday, February 25, 2011

Are hot teachers better teachers?

It is well known that beautiful and tall people have better lives and are better paid. This is especially thought to be true in activities where skills are relatively unimportant. What about economics professors?

Anindya Sen, Marcel Voia and Frances Woolley use the hotness indicators from student evaluations at in Ontario and find hot economics university professors are paid a whooping 10% more than their less attractive counterparts. Not only is this a large number, it also runs counter to previous results that such effects are limited to unskilled professions. This effect is especially strong for men and not present for women, Indeed women who negotiate hard are not deemed attractive.

In addition, hotter teachers also get better student evaluations, even after controlling for all what the authors could put their hands on. For other indicators of professor productivity, it turns out that hotness affects positively women for citations, although this could be due to a few highly cited women (citation counts are always very skewed). But neither men nor women publish significantly more when hot, but they tend to attract more co-authors. I really need to be careful with my appearance.

1 comment:

Frances Woolley said...

"I really need to be careful with my appearance." Only if you're old.

Young profs don't get much of a premium for being hot. My theory is that any 50-year old prof who looks hot in the eyes of a 20 year old undergrad must have really extraordinary abilities, and these are rewarded in the labour market.

Thanks for blogging us!