Mendoza School of Business

Study: Actresses Get Less Valuable After Age 34

Published: January 31, 2014 / Author: Maggie Lange

The following is an excerpt from an article in New York Magazine that discusses Management Professor Tim Judge’s research on the wages of male and female actors. To read the entire article visit: Study: Actresses Get Less Valuable After Age 34

How old can you be — as a lady movie star — before you must stop aging, douse yourself in waters from the fountain of youth, and seek to become a sparkling, ageless vampire-daemon? Is that age unknowable, or simply measured by the presence of more than three wrinkles? Nah, say researchers — the age is known, and it’s 34, the point at which income for female movie stars begins to “decrease rapidly.”

In a paper published Wednesday, titled Age, Gender, and Compensation: A Study of Hollywood Movie Stars, researchers sought to determine if there was a discrepancy between the salaries for male and female actors as they age. The study’s authors focused on the highest level of earners (movie stars!) in order “to rule out productivity-related explanations.”


This might seem like unfathomable amounts of money in a notoriously mercurial business, but one of the lead authors of the study says that these studies reflect greater trends. Timothy Judge, a management professor at the University of Notre Dame, said to USA Today:

This is a microcosm of what happens in society. We are such an appearance-based society. Men’s well-worn faces are thought to convey maturity, character and experience. A woman’s face, on the other hand, is valued for appearing young.


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