It is well-known (and, indeed, something of a staple of modern society) that physical attractiveness affects individual well-being and behavior in many different ways… but productivity in economic research would not often be considered one of them.

On June 8, Jan Fidrmuc, a Professor of Brunel University London, delivered a presentation at ISET entitled “Beautiful Minds: Physical Attractiveness and Research Productivity in Economics”. In his speech, Mr. Fidrmuc emphasized that physically attractive people usually receive significant benefits in their social lives, the labor market, and, most importantly, in the marriage market. Surprisingly enough, Mr. Fidrmuc also mentioned that academic achievements are also influenced by physical appearance; for instance, attractive female undergraduate students attending classes in person often better in college, as opposed to those who participate in online courses and are therefore unable to benefit from their appearance (Hernández-Julián and Peters, 2015).

The Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics (SITE) with support from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs organized the annual SITE Development Day conference, which is dedicated to discussing initiatives that can help create a more equal society and improve economic development.

SITE Development Day brought together distinguished academics, industry experts, gender and development economists, policy makers and guests interested in the topic. The conference speakers and panelists discussed how gender discrimination negatively impacts the productivity of low and middle-income economies, but also how reforms and specific initiatives can improve the situation. In addition, interesting historical perspectives were presented, discussing the origins of differences in gender norms.

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