Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Race and Marriage in the Labor Market: A Discrimination Correspondence Study in a Developing Country

Arceo-Gomez, Eva O. and Campos-Vázquez, Raymundo M. (2013): Race and Marriage in the Labor Market: A Discrimination Correspondence Study in a Developing Country.

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Abstract

In Mexico, as in most Latin American countries with indigenous populations, it is commonly believed that European phenotypes are preferred to mestizo or indigenous phenotypes. However, it is hard to test for such racial biases in the labor market using official statistics since race can only be inferred from native language. Moreover, employers may think that married females have lower productivity, and hence they may be more reluctant to hire them. We are interested in testing both hypotheses through a field experiment in the labor market. The experiment consisted on sending fictitious curriculums (CVs) responding to job advertisements with randomized information of the applicants. The CVs included photographs representing three distinct phenotypes: Caucasian, mestizo and indigenous. We also randomly vary marital status across gender and phenotype. Hence, our test consists on finding whether there are significant differences in the callback rates. We find that females have 40 percent more callbacks than males. We also find that indigenous looking females are discriminated against, but the effect is not present for males. Interestingly, married females are penalized in the labor market and this penalty is higher for indigenous-looking women. We did not find an effect of marital status on males.

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