The Costs of Employment Segregation: Evidence from the Federal Government under Wilson

Awarded Scholars:
Abhay Aneja, University of California, Berkeley
Guo Xu, University of California, Berkeley
Project Date:
Mar 2021
Award Amount:

Segregation within the workplace lies at the heart of racial inequality in wages and employment. Segregation also carries potentially unintended costs to organizations by leading to the misallocation of worker talent. The costs of racial segregation, however, remain poorly measured by quantitative social scientists. This project will provide evidence on the impact of racial segregation by analyzing one of the largest episodes of racial separation policy in western democratic history: President Woodrow Wilson’s 1913 directive to segregate all workers within the federal government according to race. Using a newly created dataset on all federal government employees, the researchers will study how state-sanctioned discrimination contributed to black-white earnings inequality. Using data on government performance, they will also consider if discrimination within the bureaucracy impeded the efficient functioning of government.


RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.


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