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Getting Arrested is Not Pretty

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In the excellent police procedural Nemesis Jo Nesbø includes the line, “Good police officers are ugly.”  This might be true, but I don’t see why the skills of a good police officer are negatively correlated with the police officer’s looks.  The only argument might be the same one used in a recent paper by Naci Mocan and Erdal Tekin, which showed that robbers are unusually ugly.  That finding makes sense—ugliness might intimidate victims and make the crime easier to commit.  So too perhaps for police ugliness intimidating crooks; but a policeman’s ugliness might also scare upright citizens and make the job harder.  More generally, I’m always amazed at the low correlations between different characteristics across occupations — so much of occupational choice depends on idiosyncratic individual preferences and productivity.