Should Candidates Smile to Win Elections? An Application of Automated Face Recognition Technology

Political Psychology, Vol. 33, Issue 6, pp. 925–933, December 2012

20 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2011 Last revised: 4 Sep 2014

See all articles by Yusaku Horiuchi

Yusaku Horiuchi

Dartmouth College - Department of Government

Tadashi Komatsu

Komatsu Research Office

Fumio Nakaya

Osaka Kyoiku University

Date Written: March 31, 2011

Abstract

Previous studies examining whether the faces of candidates affect election outcomes commonly measure study participants’ subjective judgment of various characteristics of candidates, which participants infer based solely on the photographic images of candidates. We, instead, develop a smile index of such images objectively with automated face recognition technology. The advantage of applying this new technology is that the automated process of measuring facial traits is by design independent of voters’ subjective evaluations of candidate attributes, based on the images, and thus allows us to estimate ‘undiluted’ effects of facial appearance per se on election outcomes. The results of regression analysis using Japanese and Australian data show that the smile index has statistically significant and substantial effects on the vote share of candidates even after controlling for other covariates.

Keywords: voting behavior, automated face recognition, Australia, Japan

JEL Classification: D72, C81

Suggested Citation

Horiuchi, Yusaku and Komatsu, Tadashi and Nakaya, Fumio, Should Candidates Smile to Win Elections? An Application of Automated Face Recognition Technology (March 31, 2011). Political Psychology, Vol. 33, Issue 6, pp. 925–933, December 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1803804

Yusaku Horiuchi (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College - Department of Government ( email )

204 Silsby Hall
HB 6108
Hanover, NH 03755
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.dartmouth.edu/horiuchi/

Tadashi Komatsu

Komatsu Research Office ( email )

19-5, Kamiuma 2-chome
Setagaya-ku
Tokyo, 154-0011
Japan

Fumio Nakaya

Osaka Kyoiku University ( email )

Kashiwara
Japan

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