Devah Pager, a Harvard sociologist best known for rigorously measuring and documenting racial discrimination in the labor market and in the criminal justice system, died on Nov. 2 at her home in Cambridge, Mass. She was 46.
Michael Shohl, her husband, said the cause was pancreatic cancer.
In her seminal work, Dr. Pager, who was the Peter and Isabel Malkin professor of public policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and a professor of sociology at the university, documented what she called the “powerful effects of race” on hiring decisions, which she said contributed to persistent inequality. Employers, she found, were more likely to hire a white man, even if he had a felony conviction, than a black man with no criminal record.
“This suggests that being black in America today is essentially like having a felony conviction in terms of one’s chances of finding employment,” Dr. Pager said in a video interview with the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality.
Her finding, which appeared first in her doctoral dissertation in 2003 at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, surprised many.
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Devah Pager, Who Documented Race Bias in Job Market, Dies at 46at….