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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

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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Incentives to Quit in Men’s Professional Tennis: An Empirical Test of Tournament Theory

By Will Walker

This paper studies the influence of incentives on quitting behaviors in professional men’s tennis tournaments and offers broader implications to pay structures in the labor market. Precedent literature established that prize incentives and skill heterogeneity can impact player effort exertion. Prize incentives include prize money and indirect financial rewards (ranking points). Players may also exert less effort when there is a significant difference in skill between the match favorite and the match underdog. Results warrant three important conclusions. First, prize incentives (particularly prize money) do influence a player’s likelihood of quitting. Results on skill heterogeneity are less conclusive, though being the “match favorite” could reduce the odds of quitting. Finally, match underdogs and “unseeded” players may be especially susceptible to the influence of prize incentives when considering whether to quit.

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Advisors: Peter Arcidiacono and Grace Kim | JEL Codes: J41, J31, J32, J33, M12, M51, M52

Incentives in Professional Tennis: Tournament Theory and Intangible Factors

By Steven Seidel

This paper analyzes the incentives of professional tennis players in a tournament setting, as a proxy for workers in a firm. Previous studies have asserted that workers exert more effort when monetary incentives are increased, and that effort is maximized when marginal pay dispersion varies directly with position in the firm. We test these two tenets of tournament theory using a new data set, and also test whether other “intangible factors,” such as firm pride or loyalty, drive labor effort incentives. To do this, we analyze the factors that incentivize tennis players to exert maximal effort in two different settings, tournaments with monetary incentives (Grand Slams) and tournaments without monetary incentives (the Davis Cup), and compare the results. We find that effort exertion increases with greater monetary incentive, and that certain intangible factors can often have an effect on player incentives.

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Advisor: Curtis Taylor, Marjorie McElroy | JEL Codes: J31, J33, L38 | Tagged: Compensation, Sports, Tournament Theory


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