On the blurring of the color line: Wages and employment for black males of different skin tones


Journal Article

© 2015 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. We evaluate the role skin color plays in earnings and employment for black males in the NLSY97. By applying a novel, scaled measure of skin tone to a nationally representative sample and by estimating the evolution of labor market differentials over time, we bridge a burgeoning literature on skin color with more established literatures on wage differentials and labor market discrimination. We find that while intraracial wage gaps widen with experience, gaps between the lightest-skinned black workers and whites remain constant, suggesting that a blurring of the color line elicits subtle yet meaningful variation in earnings differentials over time.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kreisman, D; Rangel, MA

Published Date

  • January 1, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 97 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 1 - 13

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1530-9142

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0034-6535

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1162/REST_a_00464

Citation Source

  • Scopus