Looks Good, You're Hired? Evidence from Extra-Parliamentary Activities of German Parliamentarians


  • Benny Geys

    Corresponding author
    1. Norwegian Business School (BI)
    2. Vrije Universiteit Brussel
    • Benny Geys, Department of Economics, Norwegian Business School (BI), Nydalsveien 37, N-0442 Oslo, Norway. Tel.: +47 4641 0923; e-mail: benny.geys@bi.no

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  • I am grateful to all respondents for their time and effort, to Nina Bonge and Sabrina Korreck for invaluable help with the web-survey, and to Karsten Mause for part of the data. Financial assistance from FWO Vlaanderen (grant number G.0022.12) is gratefully acknowledged, as are excellent comments and suggestions from an anonymous referee and the editor. The usual caveat applies.


Politicians have been shown to benefit electorally from an attractive physical appearance. Employing data on 614 German MPs, this note explores whether it also affects their success/failure in the market for extra-parliamentary activities. An attractive physical appearance is found to mainly benefit female MPs, especially for private-sector jobs. This is particularly driven by MPs’ perceived likability. While MP's perceived beauty is shown to have no direct effects for extra-parliamentary activities, our findings suggest important indirect effects.