Ethnic discrimination in Mexico: An empirical study

González de Alba, Iván Guillermo (2016). 'Ethnic discrimination in Mexico: An empirical study' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Tokyo 2016.

While it is evident that there is a gap in terms of wellbeing between the indigenous and non-indigenous populations, a pertinent question is how much of this gap can be attributed to discrimination? Answering this question is the main objective of this paper. Using the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition ethnic discrimination is first approached in the paper. Two important results are found. The first is that there are important geographical components that explain the income gap; in particular, locality size explains the impact on income by the fact that the indigenous are relatively more concentrated in rural areas. The second result, however, shows how when wage gaps are estimated, instead of income, the gap almost doubles in size, which suggests that the indigenous population works much harder to compensate for lower wages.
The second approach of studying discrimination in Mexico is by an innovative way based on the probability of being multidimensionally poor. The proportion of the poor indigenous is higher than the non-indigenous, but the gap could also be explained by regional differences, type of household, and so on. As in the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition, there is a share of the gap that remains unexplained and could be attributed to discrimination. In this case, the methodology is a Propensity Score Match (PSM). Originally developed for the medical sciences, this method compares individuals of similar characteristics to see whether a treatment is having an effect or not, in this case the indigenous are considered the “treated” while the non-indigenous the “untreated”.

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