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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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Short and Long-Term Impacts of a Large-Scale Natural Disaster on Individual Labor Outcomes: Evidence from the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami

By Tony sun

Natural disasters are often highly disruptive to the livelihoods of impacted populations. This paper investigates the effects of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami on male wages and labor supply from its immediate aftermath into the long run. Using fixed effects models that account for individual-specific heterogeneity, I find evidence of significant real wage declines for workers from heavily damaged areas that persist beyond the short-term. This long-term wage effect contrasts with previous literature, particularly in the context of relatively less severe disasters. Male workers also increased their hours-of-work following the tsunami, which suggests reliance on labor markets to smooth income losses and shifted their labor towards less disrupted industries. Additionally, I document the heterogeneity of tsunami impact on wages and hours-of-work by birth cohort and education, as well as by industry and sector of employment.

Professor Duncan Thomas, Faculty Advisor
Professor Michelle P. Connolly, Honors Seminar Instructor

JEL classification: J2; J21; J30; O10; Q54

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Measuring the Long-term Effects of Orphanhood

By Nicholas Thomas Gardner

This paper works towards developing the narrative of orphans whose parent or parents died from natural disaster. By taking advantage of the unanticipated nature of death from the 2004
Indonesian tsunami, orphanhood can be treated as much closer to random than similar literature using data centered on HIV/AIDS related deaths. We use a community level fixed effects model to attempt to derive a causal relationship between orphanhood and both education and log wages. Our models suggest that orphaned males aged 14 and older at baseline complete 1-2 fewer years of education than their cohorts. The adverse effects persist in the long-term, as these orphans earn 26% less than non-orphan cohorts.

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Advisors: Duncan Thomas and Kent Kimbrough | JEL Codes: I24, I25, I31, J24, J31

Capturing a College Education’s Impact on Industry Wages Across Time: An Analysis of Academic Factors that Affect Earnings

By Ian Low

Studying how a college education can impact one’s wages has always been an area of interest amongst labor and education economists. While previous studies have stressed using single academic factors (i.e. college major choice, performance, or college prestige) to determine the effect on wages, there has not been a focus on predicting wages given industries and a combination of these academic factors across time. Therefore, the crux of my thesis seeks to provide a new model which incorporates college major choice, GPA, industry selection across time, college type (private or public), natural ability (standardized test scores), and several demographic variables in order to predict percent increase/decrease in wages. My results show that college major choice, academic performance, natural ability, and industry selection (together) do have a significant impact on earnings, and they are appropriate measures to predict post-graduation wages.

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Advisor: Peter Arcidiacon | JEL Codes: A2, A22, J3, J31 | Tagged: College, Industry, Wages


Undergraduate Program Assistant
Matthew Eggleston

Director of the Honors Program
Michelle P. Connolly