Date of Graduation

8-2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education Policy (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Education Reform

Advisor

Robert Maranto

Committee Member

Albert Cheng

Second Committee Member

Robert Costrell

Keywords

diversity, equity, gender, inclusion, race

Abstract

Many universities and K-12 public school systems express a significant, formal commitment to the ideals of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Relative to the emphasis on DEI in America’s educational institutions, however, there has been little research describing DEI trends and evaluating the efficacy of DEI bureaucracies. This three-chapter dissertation examines DEI trends that have been the subject of much discussion—but rarely studied empirically.

For example, chapter one analyzes how universities promote DEI when hiring new faculty. I audit a subset of academic job postings and present the first evidence on how many require DEI statements, as well as the extent to which these requirements vary by university characteristics. I find that more than two-thirds of job advertisements mention the term diversity and 19 percent require DEI statements. More selective institutions are roughly 20 percentage points more likely than less-selective institutions to require DEI statements. There are no meaningful differences across academic subfields, suggesting that DEI requirements are not confined to the social sciences.

Chapter two provides the first systematic study of DEI bureaucracy across school districts. I identify factors that predict whether K-12 school districts employ a chief diversity officer (CDO) and explore whether CDO employment is correlated with shrinking achievement gaps. I find that roughly 40 percent of the largest school districts in the United States employ CDOs. Districts in “blue” or Democratic-controlled states—which we define as those states where at least two of the House, Senate, and governorship are held by Democrats—are upwards of 15 percentage points more likely to have CDOs than districts in “red” states. An exploratory analysis suggests that CDO employment is not associated with achievement gap reductions, over the past ten years, between whites and Blacks, whites and Hispanics, and nonpoor versus FRPL eligible students.

Chapter three explores how DEI issues manifest on the college graduate job market. I present the results of a resume audit—the first to estimate the causal effect of listing collegiate athletics on employer callbacks—and test for subgroup effects by ethnicity and gender. I show that listing sports participation does not significantly change whether an applicant receives a callback or interview request from an employer. Applicants who list sports are slightly less likely to receive interest from employers, but these differences are not statistically significant. There are somewhat larger decreases in the likelihood that females and non-white applicants receive callbacks when their resumes include sports, but these disparities also fell short of statistical significance. I discuss how gender and racial differences observed in this study may inform the need for DEI interventions.

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