Afro-descendants in Peru: Do beauty and race matter in the labor market?

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2 Scopus citations


This is a first study about labor discrimination against Afro-descendants in Peru. We randomly assigned Afro-Peruvian and white surnames and photographs (subjectively beautiful, homely looking, or not photos) to 3,828 fictitious résumés, sent for unskilled, technical, and professional occupations. We find an unprecedented, sizeable beauty premium in unskilled occupations (232.5 percent), no effect of looks in technical occupations, and a beauty penalty in professional occupations (–71.3 percent). Overall, whites receive 19.37 percent more callbacks than similarly qualified Afro-Peruvians; this racial discrimination affects only Afro-Peruvian females, and particularly those employed in technical occupations. These results remain unaltered when we restrict the sample to those markedly “Afro” surnames. Our findings unveil different dynamics of discrimination across job categories, which tend to be overlooked by the existing literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-230
Number of pages20
JournalReview of Development Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • Developing world
  • Labor market
  • Racial identity
  • Racism
  • Skilled labor
  • Womens employment
  • Peru


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