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May 24, 2006

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Bob B

I recall a conversation many decades ago with a fellow (and more experienced) internal examiner about examiner bias. It happened that at the time he also served as an external examiner for an optional subject in final exams at another - and larger - university which, to minimise the possibility of bias, routinely allowed exam candidates to enter only centrally allotted numerical identifiers on their exam scripts and barred personal names. However, for all that, he said it was not unusual at examiners' meetings for the internal examiners to recognise the handwriting and writing styles of candidates and comment on their progress in the course.

Alex

Because the study is confined to economics students, it suggests that being an ugly man is a drawback to becoming a good economist. But there is abundant evidence to the contrary.

Well, although this is intuitively sound, I think the answer is to be found further back in the post. Among the men, you point out, the beauty premium exists because the small group of really ugly individuals do much worse.

This argues that, although male economists skew uglier than the general population, there are enough really astonishingly ugly ones who are also stupid to reflect credit on the others.

The Pedant-General

"... it suggests that being an ugly man is a drawback to becoming a good economist. But there is abundant evidence to the contrary."

You shouldn't be so hard on yourself Chris.

;-)

On a more substantive note, does this conclusively disprove that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"?

Unity

I wonder how this fits in with the aphorism that politics is showbusiness for ugly people?

dsquared

surely this is pretty obvious; pretty people do better in exams because they get more education, because teachers pay more attention to them? That's certainly a large part of why black children do worse.

dearieme

Study people whose beauty changed suddenly -e.g. youngsters who lost their "puppy fat", people who got cosmetic surgery, etc.

Shuggy

Fascinating. Been trying to remember (senior, I stress) pupils who have really stood out academically and I can't actually remember any of them being ugly and those who won class prizes, in my subjects anyway, were pretty presentable, to say the least. One sixth year boy in particular could make you forget you're heterosexual.

On the other hand, one presumes the study didn't take account of some drop-dead gorgeous people who get themselves pregnant at the age of sixteen and never get around to sitting ANY exams. Seen a few of these over the years.

Another problem with the theory: you once described Ruth Kelly as one of the most intelligent people you've met. I assume this translated into good academic performance. While I wouldn't describe her as ugly, I wouldn't say she was exactly a honey either. (Apologies for the sexist observations.)

Steve

This makes my academic results look even better than I thought.

I managed to gain good qualifications even though the odds were stacked against me!

Luis Enrique

I, on the other hand, have been confronted with the awful possibility that my superlative academic performance might reflect no more than my teachers having been captivated by my good looks.

Jim

"Because the study is confined to economics students, it suggests that being an ugly man is a drawback to becoming a good economist. But there is abundant evidence to the contrary."

Do we know how closely "being a good economist" and "doing well in ecnomics exams" ar related?

dsquared

[While I wouldn't describe her as ugly, I wouldn't say she was exactly a honey either]

Ungallant though it is to say, I remember her being a lot better looking when she was at the Bank of England in the 1990s.

phil jones

dsquared is undoubtedly right (in his post about getting the attention of teachers)

To take it further : what sort of ugly are we talking about? The kind that comes from being poor or neglected, badly dressed or not having learned to look after yourself?

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