Joni Hersch

Document Type


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Journal of Labor Economics

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immigrants, discrimination in employment, human skin color


Labor and Employment Law | Law | Law and Race


Using data from the New Immigrant Survey 2003, this paper shows that skin color and height affect wages among new lawful immigrants to the U.S. controlling for education, English language proficiency, occupation in source country, family background, ethnicity, race, and country of birth. Immigrants with the lightest skin color earn on average 17 percent more than comparable immigrants with the darkest skin color. Taller immigrants have higher wages, but weight does not affect wages. Controls for extensive current labor market characteristics that may be influenced by discrimination do not eliminate the negative effect of darker skin color on wages.



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