14 May 2012

Discrimination Down In Elite Professions

In 1960, 94 percent of doctors were white men, as were 96 percent of lawyers and 86 percent of managers. By 2008, these numbers had fallen to 63, 61, and 57 percent, respectively.

From here.

The trend is expected by anyone familiar with 20th century American history. The economic conclusions that follow from it discussed in the related academic paper has all of the limits of economic models generally, although it is hard to discount the conclusion that this had some economic benefit to the U.S. economy. But, the raw numbers are pretty much indisputable and worth noting in a blog post for easy reference.

Also, of course, it is worth noting the percentage of people who are white men who are twenty-five to seventy years old (whch is about 35%-40%). This overall demographic percentage is still much smaller than the percentage of white men who make up those professions today.

Part of this is a matter of old demographics working their way through people's careers.

Law school graduation rates, for example, weren't gender neutral until around the early 1980s and many people who graduated from law school earlier on are still practicing lawyers. The percentage of older lawyers who are women is smaller than the percentage of younger women who are lawyers. Boundaries of gender at the higher educational level have also equalized more completely than boundaries of race, for the most part. Much of the gender imbalance of the makeup of these professions today arises from career patterns after the members of the professions complete their higher educations.

Racial imbalances in participation in these professions, in contrast, is mostly attributable to pre-higher education participation disparities.

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