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

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Author Info

  • Berggren, Niclas

    ()
    (Ratio Institute)

  • Jordahl, Henrik

    ()
    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics)

  • Poutvaara, Panu

    ()
    (University of Munich)

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 Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2311.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Public Economics, 2010, 94 (1-2), 8-15
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2311

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

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Meng, Xin & Zhang, Junsen, 2002. "Dress for success--does primping pay?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 361-373, July.
  4. 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.
  5. Markus M. Mobius & Tanya S. Rosenblat, 2006. "Why Beauty Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 222-235, March.
  6. Daniel J. Benjamin & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Thin-Slice Forecasts of Gubernatorial Elections," NBER Working Papers 12660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Hamermesh, Daniel S., 2006. "Changing looks and changing "discrimination": The beauty of economists," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 93(3), pages 405-412, December.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Peter Schmidt, 2003. "The Determinants of Econometric Society Fellows Elections," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 399-407, 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. 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.
  14. Michael French, 2002. "Physical appearance and earnings: further evidence," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(5), pages 569-572.
  15. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  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. Daniel J. Benjamin & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Thin-Slice Forecasts of Gubernatorial Elections," NBER Working Papers 12660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.

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