Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
HomeAboutSeriesSubject/JEL codesAdvanced Search
Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) Working Paper Series

No 855:
The Right Look: Conservative Politicians Look Better and Voters Reward It

Niclas Berggren (), Henrik Jordahl () and Panu Poutvaara ()

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.

Keywords: Beauty; Elections; Political candidates; Appearance; Ideology; Parties; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: D72; J45; J70; (follow links to similar papers)

28 pages, December 20, 2010, Revised February 8, 2012

Before downloading any of the electronic versions below you should read our statement on copyright.
Download GhostScript for viewing Postscript files and the Acrobat Reader for viewing and printing pdf files.

Full text versions of the paper:

wp855.pdf    PDF-file
Download Statistics
This paper is published as:
Berggren, Niclas, Henrik Jordahl and Niclas Berggren, (2017), 'The Right Look: Conservative Politicians Look Better and Voters Reward It', Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 146, February, pages 79-86

Questions (including download problems) about the papers in this series should be directed to Elisabeth Gustafsson ()
Report other problems with accessing this service to Sune Karlsson () or Helena Lundin ().

Programing by
Design by Joachim Ekebom

Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0855 This page was generated on 2017-02-01 15:24:15