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Analysis of the Impact of Gender and Age of Protagonists in Top-Grossing Films from 2000-2019 on Film Success

By Daniella Welton

Abstract
The gender wage gap is prominent in many fields of work, but it is especially prevalent among actors in the film industry. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, as of 2019 female annual workers were earning about 82.3% of their male counterparts. In a study of feature films released from 1980 to 2015, females were making only 56% of their male counterparts on average; this gap also has been shown to increase as female actors get older (Blau & Kahn, 2017; De Pater et al., 2014; Izquierdo Sanchez & Navarro Paniagua, 2017). In this paper I investigate the relationship between the gender and age of protagonists in the film industry and film success through a series of three regressions with film success defined as film total gross, critic reviews, and audience reviews. My data set is composed of 100 top-grossing films from each year 2000-2019. Through my statistical analysis I did not find any evidence that the gender or age of the protagonist influences film success. Thus my results do not show any evidence that the gender wage gap could be related to differences in film success.

Professor Genna Miller, Faculty Advisor
Professor Kent Kimbrough, Seminar Advisor

JEL Codes: J16, J30, J70, J71

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