Just a Number? Voter Evaluations of Age in Candidate Choice Experiments

33 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2020

See all articles by Shusei Eshima

Shusei Eshima

Harvard University

Daniel M. Smith

Harvard University - Department of Government

Date Written: October 3, 2020

Abstract

Around the world, humans are living longer and politicians are getting older. Do voters hold negative views toward these older politicians? We reanalyze the results of eleven conjoint design-based candidate choice experiments from six democracies, revealing that older candidates are consistently perceived more negatively by respondents––both compared to the youngest alternative and compared to the second oldest alternative. We then report the findings of a novel conjoint experiment on Japanese voters designed to elicit whether the arbitrary milestone of entering a new decade of age (70 versus 69 years of age) affects respondents' attitudes toward a hypothetical candidate. Although at most 729 days separate candidates of these ages, we find a significant penalty for the older candidate. The penalty is more severe among respondents who are themselves younger than 70, who express disagreement with the statement that older politicians make better leaders, and who voted in the previous election.

Keywords: descriptive representation, age, conjoint experiment, candidate choice

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Eshima, Shusei and Smith, Daniel M., Just a Number? Voter Evaluations of Age in Candidate Choice Experiments (October 3, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3704473 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3704473

Shusei Eshima

Harvard University ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Institute for Quantitative Social Science
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://shusei-e.github.io/

Daniel M. Smith (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/danielmarkhamsmith

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
48
Abstract Views
346
PlumX Metrics