Well, no meritocracy is perfect. The economists Liran Einav and Leeat Yariv analyzed the faculty in the top 35 U.S. economics departments. Their conclusions were startling, especially if your last name begins with the letter Z:
Faculty with earlier surname initials are significantly more likely to receive tenure at top ten economics departments, are significantly more likely to become fellows of the Econometric Society, and, to a lesser extent, are more likely to receive the Clark Medal and the Nobel Prize. These statistically significant differences remain the same even after we control for country of origin, ethnicity, religion or departmental fixed effects.
[Hat Tip: Mankiw, hereafter known as Aaamankiw]