Do Ugly Criminals Receive Harsher Sentences? An Analysis of Lookism in the Criminal Justice System
Business & Economics
Susan L. Averett
This paper has met the requirements for Distinguished Honors
For many years, researchers have attempted to find a link between beauty and labor market outcomes. Although many important findings have been noted in these studies, the beauty analysis utilized was a subjective measurement. This subjective method, while important, may have external factors creating bias in the rating itself. In this study, the impact of beauty is applied to criminals and their sentences. Using a computer based symmetry measurement tool, an objective beauty measurement will be utilized. This study will seek to uncover whether or not criminals who are less attractive, measured through facial symmetry, receive harsher prison sentences than criminals whose facial features are more symmetric. The findings indicated that there are racial discrepancies in the analysis of beauty on sentencing decisions. In other words, for the black sample there is a premium for beauty but for the white sample, beauty is penalized.
Beck, Kelly, "Do Ugly Criminals Receive Harsher Sentences? An Analysis of Lookism in the Criminal Justice System" (2010). Business and Economics Honors Papers. 16.
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