U-G-L-Y: You might have an alibi afterall

20th century prophets Daphne and Celeste had it wrong when they sang:

“U.G.L.Y
You ain’t got no alibi
You ugly!”

The science of economics proves it.

A new(ish) study published in The Review of Economics shows that ugly people are actually more likely to be criminals. (PDF of the actual study here). Probably because there are only two paths – model citizen and criminal. And they’re not pretty enough…

It’s not a new idea…

The BBC describes the findings as being significant in “the new field of anthropometrics”, suggesting that this could be a handy profiling tool. In fact, anthropometry, in particular detecting criminal tendencies by the measurement of facial characteristics, is a very old discipline. It was previously condemned as pseudoscience – could it be making a comeback?

But they have the numbersTM:

“It is based on an anonymous questionnaire combined with equally anonymous ratings of the subject’s attractiveness. It shows a small but significant correlation between attractiveness, or the lack of it, and criminality. The most unattractive segment are 1.5 per cent more likely to have committed robbery, 2.2 per cent more likely to have committed assault, and 3 per cent more likely to have sold drugs. Or to have been caught doing so, at any rate.

The authors note previous work showing how more attractive people are more successful in their careers and earn more. This puts less attractive people at a disadvantage in the world of work and nudges them towards criminal alternatives.”

Ugliness is also not entirely subjective. Apparently (according to a video essay I made at uni that I have since deleted from memory and existence) it is all about symmetry. Or lack thereof.

If you are feeling unsymmetrical today then you need to kick start your criminal career – there are a few posts about how to rob a bank in these here parts that might help.

Sorry. It’s science.

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