Skin tone and wages: Evidence from NBA free agents

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skin tone, earnings, basketball, free agents


Although the vast majority of research focuses on differences across races, recent research has also considered disparities within racial groups. Intraracial discrimination or colorism is defined as a bias between members of the same racial group. Prior research has found a strong relationship between skin tone of African American men and economic outcomes. This article examines the relationship between skin tone and compensation for a sample of highly paid African American men, namely, professional basketball players. One innovation is to use an objective measure of skin tone. The authors find only weak support for customer discrimination and no support for employer discrimination based on skin tone.