Research Publication Title

Does Height Influence Criminal Behavior?

Presenter Information

Zack MooreFollow

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Major

Economics

Faculty Mentor

Brooke Conaway

Keywords

Height, Influence, Criminal, Behavior, Crime, Anatomy

Abstract

Some economists have studied the relationship between anatomy, such as attractiveness, posture, and height, and how it might influence the likelihood of criminal behavior. Previous studies conclude that shorter men have a higher chance of being in prison compared to taller men. Most of the papers that I found studying the relationship between height and crime rate use data from the 19th century with a time hazard model with Weibull distributions, which is a model with continuous probability distribution. Some studies use recent data from other countries, but none of the modern studies use data from the United States. Using individual level longitudinal data from Waves I-IV of the Add Health In-Home Questionnaire, I use a linear probability model to estimate the effect of an individual’s height on their criminal behavior while controlling for race, ethnicity, cultural values, income, and recreational, religious, and educational characteristics. The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) was created because the U.S. Congress desired to fund a study of adolescents that can be randomized and nationally-representative. The Waves I-IV are conducted between 1994 and 2008. In every wave, the participants are asked questions about their social, economic, psychological, and physical status. I find that an individual’s height has a significant positive effect on their criminal behavior, where a one inch increase in height increases the likelihood you ever have ever been arrested by 0.74 percentage points.

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Does Height Influence Criminal Behavior?

Some economists have studied the relationship between anatomy, such as attractiveness, posture, and height, and how it might influence the likelihood of criminal behavior. Previous studies conclude that shorter men have a higher chance of being in prison compared to taller men. Most of the papers that I found studying the relationship between height and crime rate use data from the 19th century with a time hazard model with Weibull distributions, which is a model with continuous probability distribution. Some studies use recent data from other countries, but none of the modern studies use data from the United States. Using individual level longitudinal data from Waves I-IV of the Add Health In-Home Questionnaire, I use a linear probability model to estimate the effect of an individual’s height on their criminal behavior while controlling for race, ethnicity, cultural values, income, and recreational, religious, and educational characteristics. The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) was created because the U.S. Congress desired to fund a study of adolescents that can be randomized and nationally-representative. The Waves I-IV are conducted between 1994 and 2008. In every wave, the participants are asked questions about their social, economic, psychological, and physical status. I find that an individual’s height has a significant positive effect on their criminal behavior, where a one inch increase in height increases the likelihood you ever have ever been arrested by 0.74 percentage points.

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