Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/81356
Authors: 
Berggren, Niclas
Jordahl, Henrik
Poutvaara, Panu
Year of Publication: 
2010
Series/Report no.: 
IFN Working Paper 855
Abstract: 
Political candidates on the right are more beautiful or are seen as more competent than candidates on the left in Australia, Finland, France, and the United States. This appearance gap gives candidates on the right an advantage in elections, which could in turn influence policy outcomes. As an illustration, the Republican share of seats increased by an average of 6% in the 2000–2006 U.S. Senate elections because they fielded candidates who looked more competent. These shifts are big enough to have given the Republicans a Senate majority in two of the four Congresses in the studied time period. The Republicans also won nine of the 15 gubernatorial elections where looks were decisive. Using Finnish data, we also show that beauty is an asset for political candidates in intra-party competition and more so for candidates on the right in low-information elections. Our analysis indicates that this advantage arises since voters use good looks as a cue for conservatism when candidates are relatively unknown.
Subjects: 
Beauty
Elections
Political candidates
Appearance
Ideology
Parties
JEL: 
D72
J45
J70
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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