Sheepskin Effects in the Returns to Education by Ethnic Group: Evidence from Northeastern Brazil


The purpose of this paper is to examine inter-ethnic differences in the returns to education for the three main ethnic groups in the Metropolitan Region of Salvador (MRS), Bahia state, in Northeastern Brazil. Our results suggest that sheepskin effects take the traditional form of an additional return to the completion of a diploma for whites, whereas for blacks the additional return stems entirely from the sheepskin-like effect associated with admission to university. We show that it is possible to explain the observed pattern of inter-ethnic differences in the returns to education using a model of statistical discrimination that builds on the work of S. Lundberg and R. Startz and incorporates differences in the cost of acquiring an education that are usually associated with signaling models.

Jean-Louis Arcand
Jean-Louis Arcand
Professor of Economics

My research interests include development economics, impact evaluation and nutrition and health.