Taller people tend to be conservative

One should not get too excited by this study as the effect was small.  Height is only one influence behind conservatism. The authors below explain the finding as an effect of income but fail to ask WHY taller people have higher income. I think the answer lies with temperament.  Larger people and larger dogs tend to be more placid and less aggressive.  Why that is so is one for the neurologists.

But, whatever the reason, that placidity makes taller people  easier to work with and better suited to managerial positions.  And it also explains their politics.  It is Leftists who are the discontented people.  A tall placid man, by contrast, will be by that fact alone more contented.  It is people who are fired up by some grievance who become Leftists.  Taller people are harder to motivate in that way

I append the journal abstract to the article below

If you want to guess what political party someone supports, just take a look at their height. A new study has found taller individuals are more likely to back Conservative political positions, identify with a Conservative party and vote for Conservative politicians.

Researchers studying UK voters found that just a one-inch increase in height raises the person's support for the Conservative Party by 0.6 percent and their likelihood of voting for that party by 0.5 percent.

These findings may be linked to other studies that show taller individuals generally have a higher income than those who are short in stature.

After reviewing surveys from 9,700 people, which included the person's height, income and political views, the team found that not only are taller people more likely to support the Conservative Party and vote for Conservative candidates, they are also more likely to take a Conservative position.

These findings were observed in both men and women, however it was found to be twice as strong among men.

'If you take two people with nearly identical characteristics - except one is taller than the other - on average the taller person will be more politically conservative,' said Sara Watson, co-author of the study and assistant professor of political science at The Ohio State University.

Although these results may sound strange, Watson explained they do coincide with previous studies that show taller people generally earn more than those who are shorter – which suggests the two may be linked.

Watson said they conducted the study because, while political scientists have long theorized about an income-voting relationship, studies using real-world data have shown mixed results.  Some researchers find a link, while others see little or no effect.

'We were thinking about why there were so many seemingly contradictory findings,' she said.

During the study, Watson and her team pulled data from the 2006 British Household Panel Study, which includes self-reported height, income data and questions regarding the political views of a little over 9,700 adults.

After sifting through the data, researchers found that not only are taller people more likely to support the Conservative Party and vote for Conservative candidates, they are also more likely to take a Conservative position.

Researchers explored this further by investigating whether the effect of height on political beliefs could be explained through other channels, including race, education level, marital status and religion.  However, the team found that after all these factors their initial findings were found to be true.

The researchers also took into account potential explanations such as cognition and utilization of public health care. But no matter what was controlled in the study, the link between height and voting remained.

And although the relationship between height and political views were found in both men and women, the team discovered it was twice as strong among men.

For men, each additional inch of height increased their likely hood to support a conservative by 0.8 percent, whereas women it was just 0.4 percent.

In the second portion of the study, the team used height in an 'instrumental variable strategy', a way to estimate casual relationships, to further analyze the link between income and voting.

The team found that $665 was associated with each additional height and that a 10 percent increase in income raised the likelihood of voting Conservative by about 5.5 percent.


Height, Income and Voting

Raj Arunachalam and Sara Watson


The claim that income drives political preferences is at the core of political economy theory, yet empirical estimates of income’s effect on political behavior range widely. Drawing on traditions in economic history and anthropology, we propose using height as a proxy for economic well-being. Using data from the British Household Panel Study, this article finds that taller individuals are more likely to support the Conservative Party, support conservative policies and vote Conservative; a one-inch increase in height increases support for Conservatives by 0.6 per cent. As an extension, the study employs height as an instrumental variable for income, and finds that each additional thousand pounds of annual income translates into a 2–3 percentage point increase in the probability of supporting the Conservatives, and that income drives political beliefs and voting in the same direction.

British Journal of Political Science, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0007123416000211

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