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The Right Look: Conservative Politicians Look Better and Voters Reward It

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Author Info

  • Berggren, Niclas

    ()
    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

  • Jordahl, Henrik

    ()
    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

  • Poutvaara, Panu

    ()
    (University of Munich)

Abstract

Political candidates on the right are more beautiful or are seen as more competent than candidates on the left in Australia, Finland, France, and the United States. This appearance gap gives candidates on the right an advantage in elections, which could in turn influence policy outcomes. As an illustration, the Republican share of seats increased by an average of 6% in the 2000–2006 U.S. Senate elections because they fielded candidates who looked more competent. These shifts are big enough to have given the Republicans a Senate majority in two of the four Congresses in the studied time period. The Republicans also won nine of the 15 gubernatorial elections where looks were decisive. Using Finnish data, we also show that beauty is an asset for political candidates in intra-party competition and more so for candidates on the right in low-information elections. Our analysis indicates that this advantage arises since voters use good looks as a cue for conservatism when candidates are relatively unknown.

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File URL: http://www.ifn.se/wfiles/wp/wp855.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Research Institute of Industrial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 855.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 20 Dec 2010
Date of revision: 08 Feb 2012
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0855

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Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden
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Related research

Keywords: Beauty; Elections; Political candidates; Appearance; Ideology; Parties;

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Cited by:
  1. Shastitko, A., 2011. "Errors of I and II Types in Economic Exchanges with Third Party Enforcement," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, issue 10, pages 125-148.

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