Beauty and academic career [update of 2018-01] 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. These findings are broadly consistent with behavioural theory which predicts that facial attractiveness irrationally affects the perception of performance characteristics. Interestingly, there is no incremental benefit of attractiveness for the career progression from associate to full professor. This finding is consistent with the notion that the role played by beauty in 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

  • June 2019