Friday, October 28, 2005

The Perils of Good Looks

Another sign that democracy just doesn't work:


Handsome male candidates had a 56 percent chance of winning an election while their less dashing counterparts had a 44 percent chance, according Daniel Hamermesh, the study's author and an economics professor at the University of Texas.

Hamermesh studied the election of officers for the American Economic Association, a professional group, from 1996 through 2004.

"It was very clear that being good-looking helped and also helped more for men than for women, and that seems to be something one finds in looking at the effect of beauty in other outcomes such as earnings and wages," Hamermesh said.

He did not have a clear answer for why that was.

This is Hamermesh's sixth study on the impact of good looks, with others examining the classroom, the business arena and the legal profession.

He asked four outside observers -- three men and one woman -- to rate the attractiveness of 312 photographs used by 216 candidates on ballots.

The same people running for office several times sent in different pictures each time. The better their photograph, the more likely they were to do well, according to the study, released on Wednesday on the National Bureau of Economics Research Web site.


Pretty lame excuse for "science," if you ask me. Who pays these guys to perform these studies? I'm reminded of those guys in Ghostbusters blowing their department's research budget on flirting with co-eds.

Besides, it's not always the case that the handsomer guy wins. Why, just look at Viktor Yushchenko. Scarred for life by an alleged pre-election poisoning, his crippling disfigurement didn't prevent him from becoming President of Ukraine.


Blogger Jeff said...

Germanicus is full of shit. This is a completely valid topic for scientific/sociological research.

1:40 PM  
Blogger mkchicago said...

Yushchenko doesn't disprove the theory. 1)he got the sympathy vote for being poisoned and 2) he was a good looking guy until the nogoodniks slipped him the dioxin.

Also what about Kim Jong Il head of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea . He's goofy looking and I understand he got 100% of the vote.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Germanicu$ said...

I never said it wasn't valid for study and research; I'm just saying it's a pretty weak excuse for science. Since "attractiveness" is pretty subjective anyway, you'd probably want to use more than 4 peoples' opinion when you make your study of it.

It could just be shitty reporting on this - the sentence "He did not have a clear answer for why that was" tells as much about the journalist writing the piece as it does about the economist who authored the study, and a visit to the website referenced yields no evidence of such a study having been written. But come on - this seems like the kind of research project a freshman soc major would bang out in an evening, with his dorm-mates, and be happy for the c-minus he got for it.

2:36 PM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

We've all heard about the advantage of height in Presidential elections.

Are better looking people more self assured, and therefore more likely to run for office? Are better looking people wealthier than the ugly? Of course this is largely suggestive, but if we take a factor like weight, we find the fattest states to be the poorest, WVA and Mississippi. Poor people don't get elected, although this country desperately needs a President from West Virginia.

6:56 AM  

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