In Memoriam: The Harvard Sociology community mourns the loss of Devah Pager, who died on Friday, November 2, 2018 after a long illness. Devah was the Peter & Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Sociology at Harvard University, where she also directed the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy.
Devah’s creative, rigorous, and insightful work on discrimination in low-wage labor markets had a truly global impact, including in the 2004 US Presidential campaign, when the New York Times, among other outlets, featured work from her dissertation, including her famous article in the American Journal of Sociology, “The Mark of a Criminal Record.” Her work’s large-scale impact continues today, in efforts to “ban the box” in many states. Devah inspired us with her sunshine warmth, her deep humanity, her intellectual rigor, her community building, her engaged scholarship, and of course her brilliant smile. We all miss her terribly and count ourselves fortunate indeed to have worked with her and learned from her.
See "Devah Pager: Light in the Heart of Darkness" (Esendom, November 5, 2018); "Mourning Devah Pager" in the Harvard Gazette (November 8, 2018); an obituary published on November 8, 2018 in The New York Times and the Boston Globe on November 12, 2018; and the article in The Harvard Crimson (November 12, 2018); The Inspiring Life and Career of Devah Pager, Commentary by Bruce Western (The Marshall Project, November 13, 2018)
Devah Pager’s research focused on institutions affecting racial stratification, including education, labor markets, and the criminal justice system. Pager's recent 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. Pager received a Masters Degrees from Stanford University and the University of Cape Town, and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.