Do looks matter for women and men's academic careers? Using unique data on PhD graduates from top economics departments in the United States we are able to test whether more attractive and more intelligent-looking men and women are more likely to succeed. We find robust evidence that attractiveness matters for men's job outcomes, while looking intelligent matters for women's job outcomes. Attractive men and intelligent-looking women are more likely to get placed in the private sector than in academia or the government. For those who pursue academic careers, attractive men and intelligent-looking women are more likely to be placed in higher ranked institutions, and to publish better than less attractive men and less intelligent-looking women. The appearance effects for women are two to four times larger than they are for men.
Research Advisor, Economic Research, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, United States
I am an economist born in Russia. I began my economics education in Moscow State University and received Economics PhD from UC Berkeley. I tought at Yale as assistant professor and as visitor at Stanford and UC Berkeley (including Haas School of Business). I have been working at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in last 12 years. My fields are international finance and banking and at many conferences I find myself among just 2 or 3 women. This prompted my interest in gender studies.