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Skin Tone Differences in Social Mobility in Mexico: Are We Forgetting Regional Variance?

Luis Monroy-Gómez-Franco and Roberto Vélez-Grajales
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Roberto Vélez-Grajales: Centro de Estudios Espinosa Yglesias

Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Roberto Velez Grajales

Journal of Economics, Race, and Policy, 2021, vol. 4, issue 4, No 3, 257-274

Abstract: Abstract In the present paper, we provide the first set of estimates for the Mexican case on the rate of social mobility by skin tone that correctly separates the regional from the skin tone effect. Previous analyses on a national scale have concluded that there is a strong relationship between skin tone and social mobility in Mexico, where darker skin tones are associated with lower rates of relative upward intergenerational mobility than in the rest of the population. For our analysis, we employ the 2017 ESRU Survey of Social Mobility in Mexico (ESRU-EMOVI 2017), which allows us to analyze the social mobility patterns in each region of Mexico. Results show that differences in social mobility between the darkest and medium skin tones disappear. However, importantly, in all of the regions analyzed, the group with the lightest skin tone consistently has an advantage in upward social mobility over the rest of the population. Moreover, light-skinned individuals in all regions are not only able to climb more easily up the national socioeconomic distribution, but they are also more able to preserve their position once they reach the top. The same holds at the national level, even after controlling for the region of origin. These results suggest that the stratification regime observed in Mexico preserves the advantage that the Spanish and their direct descendants enjoyed under the colonial caste system, but instead of associating it with specific lineage or nationality, it became associated with the skin color of those at the top.

Keywords: Skin tone; Social mobility; Regions; Mexico; O1; J6; J1; I3 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (3)

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Working Paper: Skin Tone Differences in Social Mobility in Mexico: Are We Forgetting Regional Variance? (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: Skin tone differences in social mobility in mexico: are we forgetting regional variance? (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: Skin Tone Differences in Social Mobility in Mexico: Are We Forgetting Regional Variance? (2020) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1007/s41996-020-00062-1

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