Neo-liberal reform, the public sector and Black–White inequality

George Wilson, Vincent J. Roscigno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In this article, we offer an overview and critical assessment of recent changes wrought by “new governance” reforms within public sector work, highlighting the implications specifically for Black–White inequality, and denote where further sociological analyses are warranted. These foci are important given the widely accepted—though hardly comprehensively examined—assumption that public sector employment remains a favorable “economic niche” for African Americans. Recent sociological research, including our own, suggests that this is likely no longer the case. The very structure and functioning of public sector work have changed owing to neoliberal agendas and reforms toward privatization over the last two decades, becoming less bureaucratic and increasingly mirroring processes and inequalities more traditionally characteristic of the private sector. We emphasize the consequences particularly for African Americans and call for deeper sociological analyses of public sector racial inequalities, processes, and their consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1141-1149
Number of pages9
JournalSociology Compass
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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