© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.The purpose of this paper is to formally evaluate whether the deleterious impact of unemployment on mental health increases as skin shade darkens for black women in the U.S. Using data drawn from the National Survey of American Life, we find strong evidence of a gradient on depression between skin shade and unemployment for black women. These findings are consistent with the premises of the emerging field of stratification economics. Moreover, the findings are robust to various definitions of skin shade. Unemployed black women with darker complexions are significantly more likely to suffer their first onset of depression than unemployed black females with lighter skin shade. While in some cases, lighter skinned black women appeared not to suffer adverse effects of unemployment compared to their employed counterparts, persons with dark complexions did not enjoy the same degree of protection from poor mental health.
© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.This special edition of the Review of Black Political Economics provides a contribution to the growing, vital and intellectually rich field of stratification economics. Stratification economics is an emerging field in economics that seeks to expand the boundaries of the analysis of how economists analyze intergroup differences. It examines the competitive, and sometimes collaborative, interplay between members of social groups animated by their collective self-interest to attain or maintain relative group position in a social hierarchy. The collection of articles in this volume span both quantitative and qualitative approaches, geographical distances (Bangladesh, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Kenya, and the U.S.), types of intergroup disparity (class, race, ethnicity, tribe, gender, and phenotype), and outcomes associated with social stratification (property rights in identity, human capital, financial capital, consumer surplus, health, and labor market outcomes).