The Persistence of Skin Color Discrimination for Immigrants

37 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2010

See all articles by Joni Hersch

Joni Hersch

Vanderbilt University - Law School; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management; Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 20, 2010

Abstract

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, discrimination in employment on the basis of color is prohibited, and color is a protected basis independent from race. Using data from the spouses of the main respondents to the New Immigrant Survey 2003, this paper shows that immigrants with the lightest skin color earn on average 16 percent to 23 percent more than comparable immigrants with the darkest skin color. These estimates control for years of legal permanent residence in the U.S., education, English language proficiency, occupation in source country, Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, race, country of birth, as well as for extensive current labor market characteristics that may be themselves influenced by discrimination. Furthermore, the skin color penalty does not diminish over time. These results are consistent with persistent skin color discrimination affecting legal immigrants to the United States.

Keywords: Skin Color, Color Discrimination, New Immigrant Survey, Title VII, Wage Discrimination

JEL Classification: J61, J71

Suggested Citation

Hersch, Joni, The Persistence of Skin Color Discrimination for Immigrants (October 20, 2010). Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 10-32, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1695209 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1695209

Joni Hersch (Contact Author)

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