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Goldsmith, Arthur H.; Hamilton, Darrick; & Darity, William A., Jr. (2007). From Dark to Light: Skin Color and Wages among African-Americans. Journal of Human Resources, 42(4), 701-738.


This paper develops and tests a theory, referred to as "preference for whiteness," which predicts that the interracial (white-black) and intraracial wage gap widens as the skin shade of the black worker darkens. Using data drawn from the Multi City Study of Urban Inequality and the National Survey of Black Americans, we report evidence largely consistent with the theory. Moreover, we decompose the estimated interracial and intraracial wage gaps, and find that favorable treatment of lighter-skinned workers is a major source of interracial and intraracial wage differences as predicted by the theory.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Human Resources


Goldsmith, Arthur H.
Hamilton, Darrick
Darity, William A., Jr.