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

Yusaku Horiuchi (), Tadashi Komatsu and Fumio Nakaya
Additional contact information
Tadashi Komatsu: Komatsu - Research Division
Fumio Nakaya: Osaka Kyoiku University

Crawford School Research Papers from Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University

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 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 C81 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 20 pages
Date: 2011-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-cdm and nep-pol
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:een:crwfrp:1102

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