Are you better looking then all of your friends? Then you might be a conservative.
Where are we going? To politics and beauty.
The Value of Attractiveness
Researchers have suggested that better looking people earn more. As cute babies they were cuddled more. Their grade school teachers gave them higher grades. Even quarterbacks with more symmetrical faces have higher salaries.
And now a new study concludes that good looks can influence voters.
Really though it’s all about economics. The good looking people who earn more tend to support lower taxes and less of a safety net. The result is a connection between better looks and conservative politics. So, when certain voters see good looking politicians, they assume they have a conservative agenda.
New research supports the correlation between looks and politics.
In one study participants rated the attractiveness of politicians from Europe, the U.S.and Australia. Through a 1 to 5 attractiveness scale, participants indicated that, “politicians on the right are more beautiful…”
The next step was to see if voters responded to the looks gap. After seeing pictures of politicians, they placed the person on a left-right spectrum. Again many participants accurately connected a person to his or her ideology.
There were however, some differences between the right and the left. When conservatives knew little about a politician, they depended on looks more than liberals. The one common thread in all three countries was that looks conveyed an ideological message to many voters.
And that message had an economic foundation.
Our Bottom Line: Human Capital
As economists, we are talking about human capital. Because better looking individuals are favored at home, in school and at work, they earn more during a lifetime. They also might become conservative politicians.
My sources and more: Always interesting, Washington Post columnist Ana Swanson recently wrote about politicians’ looks. She linked me to this paper (with much more nuance than I expressed above). But if you still are doubtful, do listen to this Freakonomics podcast and check out its link to “Ugly Criminals” and attractive athletes.