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

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Author Info

  • Berggren, Niclas

    ()
    (Ratio Institute)

  • Jordahl, Henrik

    ()
    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics)

  • Poutvaara, Panu

    ()
    (University of Munich)

Abstract

Previous research has established that good-looking political candidates win more votes. We extend this line of research by examining differences between parties on the left and on the right of the political spectrum. Our study combines data on personal votes in real elections with a web survey in which 2,513 non-Finnish respondents evaluated the facial appearance of 1,357 Finnish political candidates. We find that political candidates on the right are better looking in both municipal and parliamentary elections and that they have a larger beauty premium in municipal, but not in parliamentary, elections. As municipal candidates are relatively unknown, the beauty-premium gap indicates that voters – especially those to the right – use beauty as a cue for candidate ideology or quality in the municipal elections.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5513.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5513

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Keywords: beauty; elections; political candidates; appearance; ideology; parties;

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References

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  1. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Meng, Xin & Zhang, Junsen, 2002. "Dress for success--does primping pay?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 361-373, July.
  2. Mobius, Markus & Rosenblat, Tanya, 2010. "Why Beauty Matters," Staff General Research Papers 32112, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  3. Poutvaara, Panu & Jordahl, Henrik & Berggren, Niclas, 2009. "Faces of politicians: Babyfacedness predicts inferred competence but not electoral success," Ratio Working Papers, The Ratio Institute 139, The Ratio Institute.
  4. Berggren, Niclas & Jordahl, Henrik & Poutvaara, Panu, 2010. "The looks of a winner: Beauty and electoral success," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 8-15, February.
  5. Amy King & Andrew Leigh, 2009. "Beautiful Politicians," CEPR Discussion Papers 616, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  6. Dreber Almenberg, Anna & Gerdes, Christer & Gränsmark, Patrik, 2010. "Beauty Queens and Battling Knights: Risk Taking and Attractiveness in Chess," IZA Discussion Papers 5314, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Fredrik Carlsson & Olof Johansson-Stenman, 2010. "Why Do You Vote and Vote as You Do?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(4), pages 495-516, November.
  8. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  9. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Berggren, Niclas & Jordahl, Henrik & Stern, Charlotta, 2007. "The Political Opinions of Swedish Social Scientists," Working Paper Series, Research Institute of Industrial Economics 711, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  11. 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, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 199-215, September.
  12. Daniel J. Benjamin & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2009. "Thin-Slice Forecasts of Gubernatorial Elections," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 523-536, August.
  13. Andreoni, James & Petrie, Ragan, 2008. "Beauty, gender and stereotypes: Evidence from laboratory experiments," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 73-93, February.
  14. Atkinson, Matthew D. & Enos, Ryan D. & Hill, Seth J., 2009. "Candidate Faces and Election Outcomes: Is the Face–Vote Correlation Caused by Candidate Selection?," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 4(3), pages 229-249, October.
  15. 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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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Looks in politics
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2011-01-06 14:33:18
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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, New Economic Association, issue 10, pages 125-148.
  2. Mechtel, Mario, 2011. "It's the occupation, stupid! Explaining candidates' success in low-information local elections," Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis 48682, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  3. 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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