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Government Building Columns


"Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development, and building good governance."


- Kofi Annan

How do government and non-profit institutions address (or fail to address) the needs of those facing economic hardship?

Public policies and institutions are incredibly important to everyday survival and have the potential to encourage socioeconomic mobility, facilitate gender equality, and break down racial hierarchies if organized and leveraged properly. My work explores what I call “catch-all bureaucracies,” government agencies called upon to be the societal arms of “help,” broadly defined. In light of ongoing debates about the remedies for growing inequality these institutions remain central to our understanding of how those who are economically struggling navigate both macro-level economic and political transformations and micro-level conditions and struggles that shape their financial outlooks.


Race, Respect, and Red Tape: Inside the Black Box of Racially Representative Bureaucracies

Watkins-Hayes, Celeste, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 21: i233-i251

Race-ing the Bootstrap Climb: Black and Latino Bureaucrats in Post-Reform Welfare Offices

Watkins-Hayes, Celeste. Social Problems/56(2) : 285-310

Human Services as ‘Race Work’? Historical Lessons and Contemporary Challenges of Black Providers

Watkins-Hayes, Celeste. In Human Services as Complex Organizations

2nd edition, Yeheskel Hasenfeld (Editor). Sage Publications

The Discourse of Deservingness: Morality and the Dilemmas of Poverty Relief in Debate and Practice

Watkins-Hayes, Celeste and Elyse Kovalsky. In The Oxford Handbook of Poverty and Society

David Brady and Linda Burton (Editors). New York: Oxford University Press.

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