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The Looks of a Winner: Beauty, Gender, and Electoral Success

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  • Niclas Berggren
  • Henrik Jordahl
  • Panu Poutvaara

    ()

Abstract

We study the role of beauty in politics using candidate photos that figured prominently in electoral campaigns. Our investigation is based on visual assessments of 1,929 Finnish political candidates from 10,011 respondents (of which 3,708 were Finnish). An increase in beauty by one standard deviation is associated with an increase of 17–20 percent in the number of votes for the average non-incumbent candidate. The relationship is virtually always statistically significant for female candidates, and in most specifications also for male candidates.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2007/wp-cesifo-2007-05/cesifo1_wp2002.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2002.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2002

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Keywords: beauty; gender; elections; political candidates; beauty premium;

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References

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  1. Solnick, Sara J. & Schweitzer, Maurice E., 1999. "The Influence of Physical Attractiveness and Gender on Ultimatum Game Decisions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 199-215, September.
  2. Mobius, Markus & Rosenblat, Tanya, 2010. "Why Beauty Matters," Staff General Research Papers 32112, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  3. Michael French, 2002. "Physical appearance and earnings: further evidence," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(5), pages 569-572.
  4. Pfann, Gerard A. & Biddle, Jeff E. & Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Bosman, Ciska M., 2000. "Business success and businesses' beauty capital," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 201-207, May.
  5. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994. "Beauty and the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1174-94, December.
  6. Claudia Goldin & Cecilia Rouse, 1997. "Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of "Blind" Auditions on Female Musicians," NBER Working Papers 5903, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. James Andreoni & Ragan Petrie, 2005. "Beauty, Gender and Stereotypes: Evidence from Laboratory Experiments," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2006-22, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  8. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Meng, Xin & Zhang, Junsen, 2002. "Dress for success--does primping pay?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 361-373, July.
  9. Daniel J. Benjamin & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Thin-Slice Forecasts of Gubernatorial Elections," NBER Working Papers 12660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2005. "Changing Looks and Changing "Discrimination:" The Beauty of Economists," NBER Working Papers 11712, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Biddle, Jeff E & Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1998. "Beauty, Productivity, and Discrimination: Lawyers' Looks and Lucre," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 172-201, January.
  12. Harper, Barry, 2000. " Beauty, Stature and the Labour Market: A British Cohort Study," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 62(0), pages 771-800, Special I.
  13. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Peter Schmidt, 2003. "The Determinants of Econometric Society Fellows Elections," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 399-407, January.
  14. David Neumark & Roy J. Bank & Kyle D. Van Nort, 1995. "Sex Discrimination in Restaurant Hiring: An Audit Study," NBER Working Papers 5024, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Alan E. Dillingham & Daniel Hamermesh & Marianne Ferber, 1994. "Gender discrimination by gender: Voting in a professional society," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(4), pages 622-633, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Leigh, Andrew & Susilo, Tirta, 2009. "Is voting skin-deep? Estimating the effect of candidate ballot photographs on election outcomes," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 61-70, February.
  2. Kiefer, Stephanie & Scharfenkamp, Katrin, 2012. "The impact of physical attractiveness on the popularity of female tennis players in online media," Discussion Papers of the Institute for Organisational Economics 6/2012, University of Münster, Institute for Organisational Economics.
  3. Armstrong, J. Scott & Green, Kesten C. & Jones, Randall J. & Wright, Malcolm, 2008. "Predicting elections from politicians’ faces," MPRA Paper 9150, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Scharfenkamp, Katrin, 2013. "Which qualifications does a minister of the German Federal Government need to be reoccupied?," CIW Discussion Papers 2/2013, University of Münster, Center for Interdisciplinary Economics (CIW).
  5. Daniel J. Benjamin & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Thin-Slice Forecasts of Gubernatorial Elections," NBER Working Papers 12660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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