Harvard Kennedy School mourns the loss of Devah Pager.
Devah Pager was the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and a professor of sociology at Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Her research focused on institutions affecting racial stratification, including education, labor markets, and the criminal justice system.
Pager's research involved a series of field experiments studying discrimination against minorities and ex-offenders in the low-wage labor market. Her book, Marked: Race, Crime, and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration (University of Chicago, 2007), investigates the racial and economic consequences of large scale imprisonment for contemporary U.S. labor markets. Her most recent research examined the longer-term consequences of labor market discrimination for job seekers and employers, and included a field experiment to study the consequences of legal debt.
Pager held master’s degrees from Stanford University and the University of Cape Town, and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She spent the 2002-03 academic year as a Fulbright fellow in Paris studying changes in crime policy and its relationship to patterns of immigration and ethnic tension in contemporary France. She was also the Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard during the 2015-2016 and 2017-2018 academic years.