Empirical Evidence of the Effect of Colorism on Customer Evaluations

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colorism, customer evaluations, ethnic identity, Hispanic male, skin tone


Skin tone is a known influencer of earnings and social status. Its role in marketing has been primarily studied within the context of advertising while focusing on differences between Whites and Blacks. Three experiments were conducted to determine the effect of skin tone on customer evaluations of Black, Hispanic, and White males and females across two industries. In Studies 1 and 2, the Hispanic male was deemed less competent, professional, and worthy of repatronage compared to other service providers. In Study 3, the Hispanic male received higher evaluations when portrayed with a darker skin tone than lighter skin tone. Skin tone identity, ethnic identity, and colorism are found to influence the observed relationship. The research demonstrates that ethnicity matters, gender matters, and skin tone matters when evaluating service providers.

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Psychology & Marketing, v. 35, issue 5, p. 357-367

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