A small band of economists has been studying how height, weight, and beauty affect the likelihood of committing – or being convicted of – a crime, the New York Times reports. Looking at records from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, there is evidence that shorter men are 20 to 30 percent more likely to end up in prison than their taller counterparts, and that obesity and physical attractiveness are linked to crime.
“The profession has developed a large interest in biology,” what some refer to as anthropometric economics or history, said Gregory Price, an economist at Morehouse College an an author of a paper on height and crime. He argues that crime can be viewed partly as an “alternative labor market.” If individuals with certain physical attributes are disadvantaged in the labor force, they may find crime more attractive. H. Naci Mocan, an economist at Louisiana State University and an author of a paper on crime and attractiveness, said theories about the relationship between weight, height, or beauty and the labor force emerged because “economists looking at standard determinants – like education, experience, productivity, human capital – found that they could only explain some of the variation in wages.”