Skin Color Discrimination and Immigrant Pay
Hersch, Joni, 1956-
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.