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The looks of a winner: Beauty and electoral success

  • Berggren, Niclas
  • Jordahl, Henrik
  • Poutvaara, Panu

We study the role of beauty in politics using candidate photos that figured prominently in electoral campaigns. Our investigation is based on visual assessments of 1929 Finnish political candidates from 10,011 respondents (of which 3708 were Finnish). As Finland has a proportional electoral system, we are able to compare the electoral success of non-incumbent candidates representing the same party. An increase in our measure of beauty by one standard deviation is associated with an increase of 20% in the number of votes for the average non-incumbent parliamentary candidate. The relationship is unaffected by including education and occupation as control variables and withstands several other robustness checks.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V76-4XNN5CJ-1/2/df71b1e1748f49589e76fb9c904b3cdd
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 94 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1-2 (February)
Pages: 8-15

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:94:y:2010:i:1-2:p:8-15
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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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. 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.
  3. Mobius, Markus & Rosenblat, Tanya, 2010. "Why Beauty Matters," Staff General Research Papers 32112, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  4. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
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