A law and economics professor at Vanderbilt, Dr. Joni Hersch, has recently published an interesting paper comparing the incomes of 2,084 legal immigants to the USA to their skin tone. Perhaps unsurprisingly, persons with lighter skintones were found to make more money on average than darker-skinned persons; in fact, 8-15% more. Taller immigrants made more than shorter ones, with a 1% increase in income for every extra inch of height.
Hersch took into consideration other factors that could affect wages, such as English-language proficiency, education, occupation, race or country of origin, and found that skin tone still seemed to make a difference in earnings.
That means that if two similar immigrants from Bangladesh, for example, came to the United States at the same time, with the same occupation and ability to speak English, the lighter-skinned immigrant would make more money on average.
“I thought that once we controlled for race and nationality, I expected the difference to go away, but even with people from the same country, the same race – skin color really matters,” she said, “and height.”