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Intersectionality and equity : dynamic bureaucratic representation in higher education

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posted on 2023-08-05, 12:58 authored by Daniel L. Fay, Alisa H. Fryar, Kenneth MeierKenneth Meier, Vicky WilkinsVicky Wilkins

Representative bureaucracy scholarship has yet to address two interrelated phenomena: intersectionality and changes in relative disadvantage over time. This manuscript addresses these gaps by assessing representation effects at the intersection of race/ethnicity and sex and in previously, but no longer, disadvantaged client groups. It also argues that if bureaucratic representation is viewed as a quest for equity, then representation will decline as disadvantaged client groups approach equity in policy outcomes. Using panel data for US higher education, this study highlights the importance of intersectional representation in bureaucratic organizations. In three of the four race/ethnic/sex combinations, students perform better in the presence of faculty who match them intersectionally (in the fourth case, race but not sex matters). The empirical results also find that as a formerly disadvantaged client group (women) becomes successful within an organization, the active representation relationship declines. These implications inform future representative bureaucracy scholarship examining intersectional groups.



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