Diversity in the U.S. Federal Government: Antecedents and Correlates of Diversity in Federal Agencies

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Although there are numerous studies on the consequences of demographic diversity, relatively little research has been conducted on what determines the variation of demographic diversity. This study examines what factors are related to variations in two dimensions of diversity—race/ethnicity and gender—using data from the 291 federal agencies. The diversity models were tested using the ordinary least squares multiple regression method and the clustered robust standard errors method. The results show that the type of policy responsibility of the agency and task professionalization are important predictors of workforce diversity. The regulatory and distributive agencies have significantly lower levels of race/ethnic diversity. The redistributive agencies, however, tend to be more diversified in terms of race/ethnicity. Interestingly, gender diversity is positively associated not only with professionalized occupations but also with nonprofessionalized white-collar occupations, suggesting that gender is well balanced across the white-collar occupations in federal workforces.