Information and the Beauty Premium in Political Elections

7 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2017

See all articles by Todd Jones

Todd Jones

Georgia State University

Joseph Price

Brigham Young University

Date Written: October 2017


We use data on 800 candidates from the 2012 U.S. election cycle in U.S. and state congressional races to examine the degree to which beauty affects electoral outcomes. We find that a candidate that is one standard deviation more beautiful receives a 1.1 percentage point higher vote share and is 6.0 percentage points more likely to win the election. This beauty premium is larger in situations where voters are less likely to have more information about the candidate. The beauty premium is much smaller for U.S. congressional races than for state congressional races, and is also much smaller for incumbent candidates. In addition, we find a correlation that the beauty premium is lower when a candidate spends more money on the election.

JEL Classification: D72, J70

Suggested Citation

Jones, Todd and Price, Joseph, Information and the Beauty Premium in Political Elections (October 2017). Contemporary Economic Policy, Vol. 35, Issue 4, pp. 677-683, 2017, Available at SSRN: or

Todd Jones (Contact Author)

Georgia State University ( email )

Department of Economics
35 Broad Street, 6th Floor
Atlanta, GA 30303-3083
United States


Joseph Price

Brigham Young University ( email )

130 FOB
Provo, UT 84604
United States

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