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Profiling the New Immigrant Worker: The Effects of Skin Color and Height

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  • Joni Hersch

Abstract

Using data from the New Immigrant Survey 2003, this article shows that skin color and height affect wages among new lawful immigrants to the United States, 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% 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. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Joni Hersch, 2008. "Profiling the New Immigrant Worker: The Effects of Skin Color and Height," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 345-386, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:26:y:2008:i:2:p:345-386
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Katherine Meckel, 2008. "Remittance behavior among new U.S. immigrants," Working Paper Series WP-08-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    2. Armando J. Garcia Pires, 2015. "Brain Drain And Brain Waste," Journal of Economic Development, Chung-Ang Unviersity, Department of Economics, vol. 40(1), pages 1-34, March.
    3. Eileen Diaz McConnell & Ilana Redstone Akresh, 2013. "Home Equity of New Legal Immigrants in the United States: An Evaluation of Three Key Theoretical Perspectives," International Migration Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 686-729, September.
    4. Mark E. McGovern & Aditi Krishna & Victor M. Aguayo & S.V. Subramanian, 2017. "A Review of the Evidence Linking Child Stunting to Economic Outcomes," CHaRMS Working Papers 17-03, Centre for HeAlth Research at the Management School (CHaRMS).
    5. Hersch, Joni, 2011. "Skin color, physical appearance, and perceived discriminatory treatment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 671-678.
    6. Leigh, Andrew & Susilo, Tirta, 2009. "Is voting skin-deep? Estimating the effect of candidate ballot photographs on election outcomes," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 61-70, February.
    7. Wilson, Nicholas & Janicki, Martha, 2016. "A cut above the rest? Private anthropometrics in marriage markets," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 164-179.
    8. Nakabayashi, Masaki, 2011. "Schooling, employer learning, and internal labor market effect: Wage dynamics and human capital investment in the Japanese steel industry, 1930-1960s," MPRA Paper 30597, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Price, Gregory N., 2013. "The allometry of metabolism and stature: Worker fatigue and height in the Tanzanian labor market," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 515-521.
    10. Daniel Hamermesh, 2012. "Tall or taller, pretty or prettier: is discrimination absolute or relative?," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 1(1), pages 1-17, December.
    11. Bünstorf, Guido & Krabel, Stefan, 2014. "Gender and Immigration: Double Negative Effects in the Labor Market Outcomes of University Graduates in Germany?," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100290, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    12. Jenq, Christina & Pan, Jessica & Theseira, Walter, 2015. "Beauty, weight, and skin color in charitable giving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 234-253.
    13. Perreira, Krista M. & Telles, Edward E., 2014. "The color of health: Skin color, ethnoracial classification, and discrimination in the health of Latin Americans," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 241-250.
    14. Jasso, Guillermina, 2011. "Migration and Stratification," IZA Discussion Papers 5904, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Abdulrahim, Sawsan & James, Sherman A. & Yamout, Rouham & Baker, Wayne, 2012. "Discrimination and psychological distress: Does Whiteness matter for Arab Americans?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(12), pages 2116-2123.
    16. Sohn, Kitae, 2015. "The height premium in Indonesia," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 16(C), pages 1-15.
    17. Shing-Yi Wang, 2015. "Statistical Discrimination, Productivity, and the Height of Immigrants," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 68(3), pages 529-557, May.
    18. Hamilton, Darrick & Goldsmith, Arthur H. & Darity Jr., William, 2009. "Shedding "light" on marriage: The influence of skin shade on marriage for black females," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 30-50, October.
    19. Grossbard, Shoshana & Gimenez-Nadal, J. Ignacio & Molina, José Alberto, 2010. "Racial Discrimination and Household Chores," IZA Discussion Papers 5345, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Cawley, John & Han, Euna & Norton, Edward C., 2009. "Obesity and labor market outcomes among legal immigrants to the United States from developing countries," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 153-164, July.
    21. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:26:y:2017:i:c:p:13-20 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Sankar Mukhopadhyay & David Oxborrow, 2012. "The Value of an Employment-Based Green Card," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(1), pages 219-237, February.
    23. Stéphanie Cassilde, 2011. "La mobilité chromatique," Post-Print halshs-01574042, HAL.
    24. Yu Xie & Margaret Gough, 2011. "Ethnic Enclaves and the Earnings of Immigrants," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(4), pages 1293-1315, November.

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