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

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  • Niclas Berggren
  • Henrik Jordahl
  • Panu Poutvaara

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 ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series Working Papers CEB with number 11-004.

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Length: 34 p.
Date of creation: Feb 2011
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Publication status: Published by:
Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/76228

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References

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  1. Poutvaara, Panu & Jordahl, Henrik & Berggren, Niclas, 2009. "Faces of Politicians: Babyfacedness Predicts Inferred Competence but Not Electoral Success," Working Paper Series 803, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  2. Amy King & Andrew Leigh, 2009. "Beautiful Politicians," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 579-593, November.
  3. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Xin Meng & Junsen Zhang, 1999. "Dress for Success — Does Primping Pay?," NBER Working Papers 7167, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Atkinson, Matthew D. & Enos, Ryan D. & Hill, Seth J., 2009. "Candidate Faces and Election Outcomes: Is the Face–Vote Correlation Caused by Candidate Selection?," International Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 4(3), pages 229-249, October.
  7. Markus M. Mobius & Tanya S. Rosenblat, 2006. "Why Beauty Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 222-235, March.
  8. Berggren, Niclas & Jordahl, Henrik & Poutvaara, Panu, 2010. "The looks of a winner: Beauty and electoral success," Munich Reprints in Economics 20267, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  9. Niclas Berggren & Henrik Jordahl & Charlotta Stern, 2009. "The Political Opinions of Swedish Social Scientists," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 75-88, Autumn.
  10. 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.
  11. Fredrik Carlsson & Olof Johansson-Stenman, 2010. "Why Do You Vote and Vote as You Do?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(4), pages 495-516, November.
  12. 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.
  13. Daniel J. Benjamin & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Thin-Slice Forecasts of Gubernatorial Elections," NBER Working Papers 12660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Dreber, Anna & Gerdes, Christer & Gränsmark, Patrik, 2013. "Beauty queens and battling knights: Risk taking and attractiveness in chess," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 1-18.
  15. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
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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. 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).
  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. 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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