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The Racial Saving Gap Enigma: Unraveling the Role of Institutions

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  • Belton, Willie
  • Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth

Abstract

It has been well documented in the literature that ethnicity matters significantly in the determination of savings. In particular, African-American savings lag far behind that of other ethnic groups. Similarly, the literature also provides evidence of the long-lived nature of institutions and the link between institutions and culture. In this paper, we provide an explanation for the savings gap that still exists between African-Americans and White Americans even after accounting for appropriate factors that can lead to savings differentials. We initially provide evidence that the savings gap exists and persist after including several control variables in a regression analysis. We then provide evidence that the persistent gap can not be attributed solely to racial discrimination but can be explained by the response of culture to institutional scaffolding erected many years earlier. Using a novel within race decomposition we provide evidence that past institutions transmitted through culture can help to explain this persistent saving disparity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association) in its series 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida with number 37089.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea08:37089

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Keywords: Savings gap; Institutions; Race; Culture; Institutional and Behavioral Economics; Political Economy; D14; D31; J15; J78; N30;

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  1. Dilip Ratha & Sanket Mohapatra & K. M. Vijayalakshmi & Zhimei Xu, 2007. "Remittance Trends 2007," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11024, The World Bank.
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  5. Blau, Francine D & Graham, John W, 1990. "Black-White Differences in Wealth and Asset Composition," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 321-39, May.
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  7. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst & Nikolai Roussanov, 2007. "Conspicuous Consumption and Race," NBER Working Papers 13392, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal Of Fortune: Geography And Institutions In The Making Of The Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Qingyuan Du & Shang-Jin Wei, 2013. "A Theory of the Competitive Saving Motive," NBER Working Papers 18911, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth & Belton, Willie, 2008. "The Role of Information and Institutions in Understanding the Black-White Gap in Self-Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 3761, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth & Belton, Willie, 2010. "Black-White Gap in Self-Employment in the U.S.: Do Cohort and Within Race Differences Exist?," IZA Discussion Papers 5071, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Mundra, Kusum & Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth, 2013. "Determinants of Immigrant Homeownership: Examining their Changing Role during the Great Recession and Beyond," IZA Discussion Papers 7468, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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