Toggle Mobile Menu
Academic Programs
Faculty News March 06, 2023

Ellora Derenoncourt awarded NSF CAREER Award to study U.S. racial disparities

The Economics Department at Princeton is excited to announce that Assistant Professor of Economics Ellora Derenoncourt has been awarded an NSF CAREER Award to support her research on economic history, labor and public economics, and the determinants of racial disparities in the U.S. The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program, managed by the National Science Foundation,  supports “early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.”

Derenoncourt, who joined Princeton in 2021, is the founding director of Princeton’s Program for Research on Inequality. Derenoncourt earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2019. Before joining the faculty at Princeton, she was an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley. She also completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at Princeton’s Industrial Relations Section

Three projects on racial disparities and discrimination

The CAREER Award will support three of Derenoncourt’s ongoing research projects.

The first project explores the determinants of slow racial wealth convergence from the abolition of slavery to the present, directly testing for the effect of political disempowerment on wealth accumulation by studying the growth of Black wealth under Jim Crow. The second project explores the role of U.S. social insurance and labor policy design in the evolution of racial inequality, examining the role of demographic change on state rules as well as the impact of changes in eligibility and generosity on economic outcomes and racial gaps. 

The third project investigates the link between one of the most pivotal events in African American history—the Great Migration North—and the phenomenon of mass incarceration, which has disproportionately affected Black men and placed them at serious disadvantage in the labor market. It uses these novel measures of local criminal justice severity to investigate the link between the Great Migration and increased reliance on punitive social policy in American cities.

By combining insights from economic history and labor and public economics, Derenoncourt says the research seeks to identify the main determinants of large racial disparities in the U.S. and shed light on channels other than statistical or taste-based discrimination through which these economic gaps persist.

More information about the award can be found here.


Back to all News & Activities