Advertisement

Demography

, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 321–343 | Cite as

Skin Color and Social Mobility: Evidence From Mexico

  • Raymundo M. Campos-VazquezEmail author
  • Eduardo M. Medina-Cortina
Article

Abstract

In many Latin American countries, census data on race and skin color are scarce or nonexistent. In this study, we contribute to understanding how skin color affects intergenerational social mobility in Mexico. Using a novel data set, we provide evidence of profound social stratification by skin color, even after controlling for specific individual characteristics that previous work has not been able to include, such as individual cognitive and noncognitive abilities, parental education and wealth, and measures of stress and parenting style in the home of origin. Results indicate that people in the lightest skin color category have an average of 1.4 additional years of schooling and 53 % more in hourly earnings than their darkest-skinned counterparts. Social mobility is also related to skin color. Individuals in the darkest category are 20 percentile ranks lower in the current wealth distribution than those in the lightest category, conditional on parental wealth. In addition, results of a quantile regression indicate that the darkest group shows higher downward mobility.

Keywords

Discrimination Skin color Social mobility Stratification Mexico 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Sectorial Fund for Research on Social Development of the Mexican National Council on Science and Technology (CONACyT) and the Secretary of Social Development (Sedesol; Project No. 217909). We thank the anonymous reviewers and the editor for thoughtful comments and suggestions that substantially improved the paper. Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the authors.

Supplementary material

13524_2018_734_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (339 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 338 kb)

References

  1. Aguilar, R. (2011). The tones of democratic challenges: Skin color and race in Mexico (Working Paper No. 231). Mexico City, Mexico: Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE).Google Scholar
  2. Almlund, M., Duckworth, A. L., Heckman, J. J., & Kautz, T. (2011). Personality psychology and economics. In E. A. Hanuchek, S. J. Machin, & L. Woessmann (Eds.), Handbook of economics of education (Vol. 4, pp. 1–181). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Elsevier.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arceo-Gomez, E., & Campos-Vazquez, R. M. (2014). Race and marriage in the labor market: A discrimination correspondence study in a developing country. American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings, 104, 376–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Avvisati, F., Gurgand, M., Guyon, N., & Maurin, E. (2014). Getting parents involved: A field experiment in deprived schools. Review of Economic Studies, 81, 57–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bailey, S. R. (2009). Legacies of race: Identities, attitudes, and politics in Brazil. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bailey, S. R., Saperstein, A., & Penner, A. M. (2014). Race, color, and income inequality across the Americas. Demographic Research, 31(article 24), 735–756.  https://doi.org/10.4054/DemRes.2014.31.24 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Caliendo, M., Cobb-Clark, D. A., & Uhlendorff, A. (2015). Locus of control and job search strategies. Review of Economics and Statistics, 97, 88–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Campos-Vazquez, R. M. (2016). Guía del usuario: Encuesta de movilidad social 2015 [User’s guide: Survey of social mobility 2015]. Mexico City, Mexico: El Colegio de México Retrieved from http://movilidadsocial.colmex.mx
  9. Canache, D., Hayes, M., Mondak, J. J., & Seligson, M. A. (2014). Determinants of perceived skin-color discrimination in Latin America. Journal of Politics, 76, 506–520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Castro, M., Expósito-Casas, E., López-Martín, E., Lizasoain, L., Navarro-Asencio, E., & Gaviria, J. L. (2015). Parental involvement on student academic achievement: A meta-analysis. Educational Research Review, 14, 33–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Centro de Estudios Espinosa Yglesias (CEEY). (2013). Informe movilidad social en México: Imagina tu futuro [Social mobility report in Mexico: Imagine your future]. Mexico City, México: Centro de Estudios Espinosa Yglesias.Google Scholar
  12. Cervone, D., & Pervin, L. A. (2013). Personality: Theory and research (12th ed.). New York, NY: Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
  13. Chetty, R., Hendren, N., Jones, M. R., & Porter, S. R. (2018). Race and economic opportunity in the United States: An intergenerational perspective (NBER Working Paper No. 24441). Washington, DC: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  14. Chetty, R., Hendren, N., Kline, P., & Saez, E. (2014). Where is the land of opportunity? The geography of intergenerational mobility in the United States. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 129, 1553–1623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Costa, C. A. (2006). Classe, raça e mobilidade social no Brasil [Class, race and social mobility in Brazil]. Dados, 49, 833–873. Retrieved from http://socialsciences.scielo.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0011-52582007000100008&lng=en&tlng=en CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Daniel, G. R. (2006). Race and multiraciality in Brazil and the United States. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Dixon, A. R., & Telles, E. E. (2017). Skin color and colorism: Global research, concepts, and measurement. Annual Review of Sociology, 43, 405–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Duckworth, A. L., & Quinn, P. D. (2009). Development and validation of the Short Grit Scale (Grit-S). Journal of Personality Assessment, 91, 166–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Espino, R., & Franz, M. M. (2002). Latino phenotypic discrimination revisited: The impact of skin color on occupational status. Social Science Quarterly, 83, 612–623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Evans, G. W., Chen, E., Miller, G., & Seeman, T. (2012). How poverty gets under the skin: A life course perspective. In R. King & V. Malholmes (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of poverty and child development (pp. 13–36). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Feagin, J. R., & McKinney, K. D. (2002). The many costs of racism. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  22. Flores, R., & Telles, E. E. (2012). Social stratification in Mexico: Disentangling color, ethnicity. and class. American Sociological Review, 77, 486–494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gilliam, W. S., Maupin, A. N., Reyes, C. R., Accavitti, M., & Shic, F. (2016). Do early educators’ implicit biases regarding sex and race relate to behavior expectations and recommendations of preschool expulsions and suspensions? (Research study brief). New Haven, CT: Yale Child Study Center.Google Scholar
  24. Glenn, E. (2009). Shades of difference: Why skin color matters. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Goldsmith, A. H., Hamilton, D., & Darity, W. (2006). Shades of discrimination: Skin tone and wages. American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings, 96, 242–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. González Casanova, P. (1965). La democracia en México [Democracy in Mexico]. Mexico City, Mexico: Ediciones ERA.Google Scholar
  27. Gullickson, A. (2005). The significance of color declines: A re-analysis of skin tone differentials in post-civil rights America. Social Forces, 84, 157–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hart, B., & Risley, T. R. (1995). Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.Google Scholar
  29. Heckman, J. J., & Kautz, T. (2012). Hard evidence on soft skills. Labour Economics, 19, 451–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Heineck, G., & Anger, S. (2010). The returns of cognitive abilities and personality traits in Germany. Labour Economics, 17, 535–546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hersch, J. (2006). Skin-tone effects among African-Americans: Perceptions and reality. American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings, 96, 251–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hill, M. E. (2000). Color differences in the socioeconomic status of African-American men: Results of a longitudinal study. Social Forces, 78, 1437–1460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hoff, K., & Pandey, P. (2014). Making up people: The effect of identity on performance in a modernizing society. Journal of Development Economics, 106, 118–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hordge-Freeman, E. (2015). The color of love: Racial features, stigma, and socialization in black Brazilian families. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  35. Jencks, C., & Phillips, M. (Eds.). (2011). The black-white test score gap. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
  36. Jensen, A. R. (1998). The g factor: The science of mental ability. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers/Greenwood Publishing Group.Google Scholar
  37. Jones, J. M., Cochran, S. D., Fine, M., Gaertner, S., Mendoza-Denton, R., Shih, M., . . . Vasquez, M. J. T. (2012). Dual pathways to a better America: Preventing discrimination and promoting diversity. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/pubs/info/reports/promoting-diversity.aspx
  38. Keith, V. M., & Herring, C. (1991). Skin tone and stratification in the black community. American Journal of Sociology, 97, 760–778.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lomnitz Adler, C. (1993). Exits from the labyrinth: Culture and ideology in the Mexican national space. Berkeley: University of California Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Loveman, M. (2014). National colors: Racial classification and the state in Latin America. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Marteleto, L. J. (2012). Educational inequality by race in Brazil, 1982–2007: Structural changes and shifts in racial classification. Demography, 49, 337–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Massey, D., & Sánchez, M. (2010). Brokered boundaries: Creating immigrant identity in anti-immigrant times. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  43. Mazumder, B. (2014). Black-white differences in intergenerational economic mobility in the United States (Economic Perspectives Report No. 1Q/2014). Chicago, IL: Economic Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.Google Scholar
  44. McKenzie, D. J. (2005). Measuring inequality with asset indicators. Journal of Population Economics, 18, 229–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Meyer, M. C., Sherman, W. L., & Deeds, S. M. (2013). The course of Mexican history (10th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Nisbett, R. E. (2009). Intelligence and how to get it: Why schools and cultures count. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  47. Oehmichen, C. (2006). Violencia interétnica y racismo en la Ciudad de México [Inter-ethnic violence and racism in Mexico City]. Anales de Antropología/Annals of Anthropology, 40(1), 167–191.Google Scholar
  48. Ostrosky-Solís, F., & Lozano, A. (2006). Digit span: Effect of education and culture. International Journal of Psychology, 41, 333–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Perreira, K., & Telles, E. E. (2014). The color of health: Skin color, ethnoracial classification, and discrimination in the health of Latin Americans. Social Science & Medicine, 116, 241–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Piatek, R., & Pinger, P. (2010). Maintaining (locus of) control? Assessing the impact of locus of control on education decisions and wages (IZA Discussion Paper No. 5289). Bonn, Germany: Institute for the Study of Labor.Google Scholar
  51. Putnam, R. D. (2015). Our kids: The American dream in crisis. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  52. Rammstedt, B. (2007). Who worries and who is happy? Explaining individual differences in worries and satisfaction by personality. Personality and Individual Differences, 43, 1626–1634.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Rammstedt, B., & John, O. P. (2007). Measuring personality in one minute or less: A 10-item short version of the Big Five Inventory in English and German. Journal of Research in Personality, 41, 203–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Rangel, M. A. (2015). Is parental love colorblind? Human capital accumulation within mixed families. Review of Black Political Economy, 42, 57–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Richardson, J. T. (2007). Measures of short-term memory: A historical review. Cortex, 45, 635–650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Richardson, M., Abraham, C., & Bond, R. (2012). Psychological correlates of university students’ academic performance: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 138, 353–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Sawhill, I. V., Winship, S., & Grannis, K. S. (2012). Pathways to the middle class: Balancing personal and public responsibilities. Washington, DC: Center on Children and Families, Brookings Institution.Google Scholar
  58. Schipolowski, S., Wilhelm, O., & Schroeders, U. (2014). On the nature of crystallized intelligence: The relationship between verbal ability and factual knowledge. Intelligence, 46, 156–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Schurer, S., Kassenboehmer, S. C., & Leung, F. (2015). Testing the human capital model of education: Do universities shape their students’ character traits? (IZA Discussion Paper No. 8873). Bonn, Germany: Institute for the Study of Labor.Google Scholar
  60. Schwartzman, L. F. (2007). Does money whiten? Intergenerational changes in racial classification in Brazil. American Sociological Review, 72, 940–963.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Steele, C. M. (2010). Whistling Vivaldi, and other clues to how stereotypes affect us. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  62. Telles, E. E. (2004). Race in another America: The significance of skin color in Brazil. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  63. Telles, E. E. (Ed.). (2014). Pigmentocracies: Ethnicity, race, and color in Latin America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  64. Telles, E. E., & Bailey, S. R. (2013). Understanding Latin American beliefs about racial inequality. American Journal of Sociology, 118, 1559–1595.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Telles, E. E., Flores, R. D., & Urrea-Giraldo, F. (2015). Pigmentocracies: Educational inequality, skin color and census ethnoracial identification in eight Latin American countries. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 40, 39–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Telles, E. E., & Murguia, E. (1990). Phenotypic discrimination and income differences among Mexican-Americans. Social Science Quarterly, 71, 682–696.Google Scholar
  67. Telles, E. E., & Sue, C. A. (2009). Race mixture: Boundary crossing in comparative perspective. Annual Review of Sociology, 35, 129–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Torche, F. (2015). Intergenerational mobility and gender in Mexico. Social Forces, 94, 563–587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Trejo, G., & Altamirano, M. (2016). The Mexican color hierarchy: How race and skin tone still define life chances 200 years after independence. In J. Hooker & A. B. Tillery, Jr. (Eds.), The double bind: The politics of racial and class inequalities in the Americas (pp. 3–16). Washington, DC: American Political Science Association.Google Scholar
  70. Villarreal, A. (2010). Stratification by skin color in contemporary Mexico. American Sociological Review, 75, 652–678.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Wade, P. (2009). Race and sex in Latin America. London, UK: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  72. World Bank. (2015). World development report 2015: Mind, society and behavior. Washington, DC: World Bank.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raymundo M. Campos-Vazquez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eduardo M. Medina-Cortina
    • 2
  1. 1.El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios EconómicosMexico CityMexico
  2. 2.El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios EconómicosMexico CityMexico

Personalised recommendations