Beauty and academic career Other uri icon

  • Overview


  • We examine the impact of beauty on the academic career success of tenure-track accounting professors at top business schools in America, and show that beauty plays a significant role. Specifically, after controlling for gender, ethnicity, publication history, work experience, and quality of alma mater, more attractive professors obtain better first school placements post-PhD and are granted tenure in a shorter period of time. Interestingly, there is no incremental benefit of attractiveness for the career progression from associate to full professor. These findings are consistent with our conjecture that when the signal of an individual’s potential is noisy, beauty becomes a proxy for an individual’s intellectual ability and social competency. The role played by beauty in hiring and promotion diminishes when the individual’s ability and competency become apparent over time. Valuation Insight: Beauty (all else equal) is shown to affect the academic careers of accounting faculty. As such it indicates a biased valuation of this human resource. However, the bias disappears once the individual has a track record (as at the time of promotion decisions) that enables evaluation based on more concrete criteria.


  • Liu, Yanju
  • Lu, Hai
  • Veenstra, Kevin
  • Michael, Lee-Chin Family Institute for Strategic Business Studies

publication date

  • January 2018