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CLAS Lecture Series: Skin Color and Social Mobility: Evidence from Mexico

Dr. Raymundo M. Campos Vazquez, Assistant Professor at El Colegio de México Centro de Estudios Económicos in Mexico City
In many Latin American countries, census data on race and skin color is scarce or non-existent. In this paper we contribute to the literature by estimating how skin color affects intergenerational social mobility in Mexico. Using a novel dataset, we provide evidence of profound social stratification by skin color, even after controlling for very specific individual characteristics that previous work has not been able to include, such as individual cognitive and non-cognitive abilities, parental education and wealth, and measures of stress and parenting style at the home of origin. Results indicate that people in the lightest skin color category have an average of 1.5 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.
Dr. Raymundo M. Campos Vazquez has a PhD in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley. He is an Assistant Professor at El Colegio de México Centro de Estudios Económicos in Mexico City, and is currently a visiting research scholar at the Center for Labor Economics at UC Berkeley. His specializations are Applied Microeconomics, Labor Economics and Public Sector Economics.



Friday, March 10, 2017. 12:30 PM


Bolivar House, 582 Alvarado Row


Center for Latin American Studies


(650) 725-0383


No RSVP Necessary | Free and Open to the Public | Lunch Served