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The Racial Saving Gap Enigma: Unraveling the Role of Institutions

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Author Info

  • Belton, Willie

    ()
    (Georgia Institute of Technology)

  • Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth

    ()
    (Emory University)

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 savings for 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 Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3545.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3545

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Keywords: savings gap; institutions; race; culture;

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References

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  1. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," NBER Working Papers 8460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Dilip Ratha & Sanket Mohapatra & K. M. Vijayalakshmi & Zhimei Xu, 2007. "Remittance Trends 2007," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11024, The World Bank.
  3. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst, 2002. "The Transition To Home Ownership And The Black-White Wealth Gap," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 281-297, May.
  4. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst & Nikolai Roussanov, 2009. "Conspicuous Consumption and Race," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(2), pages 425-467, May.
  5. Charles Yuji Horioka & Junmin Wan, 2007. "The determinants of household saving in China: a dynamic panel analysis of provincial data," Working Paper Series 2007-28, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  6. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. James Smith & Michael Ward, 1980. "Asset Accumulation And Family Size," Demography, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 243-260, August.
  8. Lisa A. Keister, 2000. "Family Structure, Race, and Wealth Ownership: A Longitudinal Exploration of Wealth Accumulation Processes," Macroeconomics 0004051, EconWPA.
  9. Francine D. Blau & John W. Graham, 1990. "Black-White Differences in Wealth and Asset Composition," NBER Working Papers 2898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Smith, J.P., 1996. "Racial and Ethnic Differences in Wealth in the Health and Retirement Study," Papers 96-12, RAND - Reprint Series.
  11. Lisa A. Keister, 2000. "Family Structure, Race, and Wealth Ownership: A Longitudinal Exploration of Wealth Accumulation Processes," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_304, Levy Economics Institute.
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Cited by:
  1. 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).
  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. Du, Qingyuan & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2013. "A theory of the competitive saving motive," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 275-289.
  4. 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).

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