The Situationist

Wages Are Only Skin Deep – Abstract

Posted by The Situationist Staff on February 5, 2009

Joni Hersch recently posted a fascinating paper, titled “Color, Discrimination, and Immigrant Pay” on SSRN.  This is her latest paper in a larger set of articles on the topic.  Here’s the abstract.

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In “Profiling the New Immigrant Worker: The Effects of Skin Color and Height,” (Journal of Labor Economics 2008), I present strong evidence of a wage penalty to darker skin color among new legal immigrants to the United States. Immigrants with the lightest skin color earn on average 17 percent higher wages than comparable immigrants with the darkest skin color, taking into account Hispanic ethnicity, race, country of birth, education, English language proficiency, family background, and occupation in the source country. This current paper demonstrates that the penalty to darker skin color is not a spurious consequence of omitted variables bias. Instead, discrimination on the basis of skin color is the most likely explanation of the findings.

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To download the paper for free, click here. To read some related Situationist posts, see “Colorblinded Wages – Abstract,” Shades of Fairness and the Marketing of Prejudice,” and “Black History is Now.”

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