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

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Author Info

  • Berggren, Niclas

    ()
    (The Ratio Institute)

  • Jordahl, Henrik

    ()
    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics)

  • Poutvaara, Panu

    ()
    (University of Helsinki)

Abstract

We study the role of beauty in politics. For the first time, focus is put on differences in how women and men evaluate female and male candidates and how different candidate traits relate to success in real and hypothetical elections. We have collected 16,218 assessments by 2,772 respondents of photos of 1,929 Finnish political candidates. Evaluations of beauty explain success in real elections better than evaluations of competence, intelligence, likability, or trustworthiness. The beauty premium is larger for female candidates, in contrast to findings in previous labor-market studies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Research Institute of Industrial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 671.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 12 Oct 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Public Economics, 2010, pages 8-15.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0671

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Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 8 665 4500
Fax: +46 8 665 4599
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Web page: http://www.ifn.se/
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Keywords: Beauty; Gender; Elections; Political candidates; Beauty premium;

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References

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  1. Daniel J. Benjamin & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Thin-Slice Forecasts of Gubernatorial Elections," NBER Working Papers 12660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Rosenblat, Tanya & Mobius, Markus, 2006. "Why Beauty Matters," Scholarly Articles 3043406, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Andreoni, James & Petrie, Ragan, 2008. "Beauty, gender and stereotypes: Evidence from laboratory experiments," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 73-93, February.
  5. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Xin Meng & Junsen Zhang, 1999. "Dress for Success — Does Primping Pay?," NBER Working Papers 7167, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Neumark, David, 1996. "Sex Discrimination in Restaurant Hiring: An Audit Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(3), pages 915-41, August.
  7. Cecilia Rouse & Claudia Goldin, 2000. "Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of "Blind" Auditions on Female Musicians," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 715-741, September.
  8. Ciska M. Bosman & Gerard Pfann & Jeff E. Biddle & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1997. "Business Success and Businesses' Beauty Capital," NBER Working Papers 6083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Peter Schmidt, 2003. "The Determinants of Econometric Society Fellows Elections," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 399-407, January.
  11. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Jeff E. Biddle & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1998. "Beauty, Productivity and Discrimination: Lawyers' Looks and Lucre," NBER Working Papers 5366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Hamermesh, Daniel S., 2006. "Changing looks and changing "discrimination": The beauty of economists," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 93(3), pages 405-412, December.
  14. Michael French, 2002. "Physical appearance and earnings: further evidence," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(5), pages 569-572.
  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. 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.
  2. Daniel J. Benjamin & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Thin-Slice Forecasts of Gubernatorial Elections," NBER Working Papers 12660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Andrew Leigh & Tirta Susilo, 2008. "Is Voting Skin-Deep? Estimating the Effect of Candidate Ballot Photographs on Election Outcomes," CEPR Discussion Papers 583, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).

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