Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bias vs Prejudice, 5

Prejudice plays a part in many areas of life. A study by a Vanderbilt University professor of law and economics found legal immigrants in the United States with a lighter skin tone made more money than those with darker skin. Researcher Joni Hersch used data from 2,084 men and women who participated in the 2003 New Immigrant Survey. An interviewer reported the person’s skin color using an 11-point scale where 0 represented the absence of color and 10 represented the darkest possible skin color. Even when taking into consideration characteristics that might affect wages (e.g., English language proficiency, work experience and education), Hersch found immigrants with the lightest skin color earned, on average, 8 percent to 15 percent more than immigrants with the darkest skin tone. The effect of skin color even persisted among workers with the same ethnicity, race, and country of origin. After I considering a whole series of alternative interpretations and explanations, Hersh was both surprised and dismayed at how strong and persistent the skin-color effect was. She also found height played a part in salary. Taller immigrants earned more, with every inch adding an additional one percent to wages. I am an immigrant from Canada and barely five feet tall. And my skin color partly depends on how much I’ve been out in the sun. . .  Hmm-m-m.  Part 6 tomorrow.

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