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It's the occupation, stupid! Explaining candidates' success in low-information local elections


  • Mechtel, Mario


We analyze the effects of personal characteristics of 4239 political candidates on their performance in local elections in Germany. Our results show that a candidate's occupation plays a decisive role. Occupational effects can be explained by (a) an occupation's public reputation and (b) public renownedness of individuals carrying out certain occupations. The findings regarding the occupational reputation effects are strongly correlated with polls on occupational reputation/prestige in the US and Germany.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc11:48682

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Niclas Berggren & Henrik Jordahl & Panu Poutvaara, 2010. "The Right Look: Conservative Politicians Look Better and their Voters Reward it," CESifo Working Paper Series 3310, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Berggren, Niclas & Jordahl, Henrik & Poutvaara, Panu, 2010. "The looks of a winner: Beauty and electoral success," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 8-15, February.
    3. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:62:y:1968:i:01:p:25-42_11 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Sajons, Christoph, 2016. "Information on the ballot, voter satisfaction and election turnout," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 16/05, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..
    2. Nicolas GAVOILLE & Jean-Michel JOSSELIN & Fabio PADOVANO, 2014. "What do you know about your mayor? Voters’ information and jurisdiction size," Economics Working Paper from Condorcet Center for political Economy at CREM-CNRS 2014-01-ccr, Condorcet Center for political Economy, revised Aug 2015.
    3. Ronny Freier & Sebastian Thomasius, 2016. "Voters prefer more qualified mayors, but does it matter for public finances? Evidence for Germany," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(5), pages 875-910, October.

    More about this item


    low-information elections; local elections; occupational reputation; political economy;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General


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