The effects on the earnings of Mexican American workers who speak English with an accent. In this study we find that, independent of English proficiency, Mexican Americans speaking English with an accent tend to earn significantly lower wages than their non-accented peers. This result is of interest to social scientists and policy makers for at least two reasons. First, antidiscrimination laws prevent employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of accent or manner of speaking. Second, immigration reform may have the unintended effect of depressing the wages of Mexican Americans and other Hispanics because the risk-averse employer may incorrectly assume that these workers are undocumented. Additional findings presented here, which suggest that Hispanic groups are uniquely penalized for speaking with an accent, lend support to the latter explanation for the inverse relationship between accent and the earnings of Mexican American men.
Southwest Hispanic Research Institute
SW Hispanic Research Institute
Davila, Alberto; Alok K. Bohara; and Rogelio Saenz. "Accent Penalties and the Earnings of Mexican American Men." (1991). http://digitalrepository.unm.edu/shri_publications/2