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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Jürges, Hendrik / Ludwig, Sandra

Ed. by Auriol , Emmanuelle / Brunner, Johann / Fleck, Robert / Mendola, Mariapia / Requate, Till / Schirle, Tammy / de Vries, Frans / Zulehner, Christine

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Volume 13, Issue 2


Volume 6 (2006)

Volume 4 (2004)

Volume 2 (2002)

Volume 1 (2001)

Professors’ Beauty, Ability, and Teaching Evaluations in Italy

Michela Ponzo
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Economics and Statistics, University of Naples Federico II, Via Cintia Monte S. Angelo, I-80126, Napoli, Italy,
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  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Vincenzo Scoppa
  • Department of Economics, Statistics and Finance, University of Calabria, Via Ponte Bucci, 87036 Arcavacata di Rende (CS), Italy
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Published Online: 2013-08-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bejeap-2012-0041


Using data from an Italian University, we relate student evaluations of teaching quality to the physical attractiveness of instructors (as evaluated by external raters using photos), controlling for a number of teacher and course characteristics. We first show that teachers’ beauty significantly affects evaluations of their teaching. We carry out a number of checks to tackle threats to internal validity: course fixed effects and individual research productivity are controlled for; an IV estimation strategy is undertaken using a second measure of beauty as an instrument; and measures of grooming and fastidiousness are introduced. Notwithstanding these controls, we find that more attractive teachers receive much better evaluations.

Keywords: beauty; discrimination; teaching quality; subjective evaluations


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About the article

Published Online: 2013-08-21

Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, Volume 13, Issue 2, Pages 811–835, ISSN (Online) 1935-1682, ISSN (Print) 2194-6108, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bejeap-2012-0041.

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