Does skin color affect educational and labor market outcomes in the United States?
Mauricio Bucca1
1Cornell Univeristy
I examine whether the association between skin color and socioeconomic outcomes reflects skin color premium or inherited advantages/disadvantages due to higher levels of racial stratification in previous generations. Using standard regression models and sibling fixed-effects models, I find that skin color does not affect educational attainment net of the higher socioeconomic status of lighter skinned families. By contrast, having a lighter skin color has a positive effect on the income of Black men and women but no clear effect for other racial groups. Additionally, this study finds that Blacks are the group that displays the largest variability in skin color while Whites’ skin tone is almost invariant. The article move beyond associational evidence offered by previous studies to provide more plausibly causal estimates for the effect of skin color on socioeconomic outcomes.