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Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World






In this study, I define ethno-racial status as the combination of socially ranked ethnic and racial characteristics individually embodied by mestizos (Spanish for mixed-race individuals). I argue that these characteristics represent distinct dimensions of ethno-racial status—phenotype, ancestry, and self-identification—and should be considered together when analyzing ethno-racial inequality in contexts of mestizaje. Moreover, I interpret self-identification as exposure to pervasive beliefs that give meaning to local ethno-racial identities rather than explaining it as a central indicator of race. Using nationally representative data of Peru, the mestizaje research setting, I examine whether there are significant differences in educational attainment and household possessions by phenotype, ancestry, and self-identification. I find that indigenous ancestry and darker skin colors are inversely associated with both socioeconomic outcomes. Moreover, white self-identification compared to mestizo is negatively associated with educational attainment but positively associated with household possessions. This approach unveils ethno-racial beliefs as instrumental in gaining socioeconomic advantages.


Author Posting. © The Author 2018. This article is posted here by permission of SAGE Publications for personal use, not for redistribution. The article was published in Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World, 2018,

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.