Devah Pager, Who Documented Race Bias in Job Market, Dies at 46

Devah Pager, Who Documented Race Bias in Job Market, Dies at 46


“By her mid-30s, she had established herself as a historic figure in the scientific study of racial discrimination,” Mitchell Duneier, chairman of the sociology department at Princeton, said in a telephone interview.

Her work was so well regarded that she had been on track to be elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences — a rare achievement in any case but even rarer for someone in sociology, for a woman and for one so young. Upon her death, her name was removed from the ballot because membership cannot be given posthumously.

“Had she not died, she was a sure bet to be elected,” Robert M. Hauser, who was one of Dr. Pager’s advisers on her dissertation at Wisconsin, said in a telephone interview.

Devah Iwalani Pager was born on March 1, 1972, in Honolulu. Her father, David Pager, is professor emeritus of computer sciences at the University of Hawaii. Her mother, Sylvia (Topor) Pager, who died in 2015, was a pediatrician.

In addition to her husband and her father, she is survived by her son, Atticus, who is 5, and two brothers, Chet and Sean. She and Mr. Shohl were married in 2016, after Dr. Pager’s diagnosis.

She grew up in Hawaii, where she attended the private Punahou School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1993; a master’s in sociology from the University of Cape Town in 1996; a second master’s from Stanford in 1997; and a doctorate in sociology from Wisconsin in 2002, before becoming a Fulbright scholar in Paris.

Dr. Pager became attuned to racial issues when she left Hawaii, which has a high rate of interracial marriage, for Los Angeles, which she found more segregated. “When you grow up with that being normal,” she told The New York Times in 2004, “everything else seems strange — and wrong.”



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