Vanderbilt University Professor Finds Correlation Between Lighter Skin and Higher Income

Joni Hersch, a professor of law and economics at Vanderbilt University, has found that light-skinned immigrants to the United States have incomes that are 8 to 15 percent higher than immigrants with similar characteristics but with a darker skin. Professor Hersch examined data on more than 2,000 new immigrants. Using photographs she assigned a skin tone rate from 1 to 11. She then added government data on the income of these individuals. “On average, being one shade lighter has about the same effect on income as having an additional year of education,” Hersch concludes.