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Racial Wealth Disparities: Is the Gap Closing?

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  • Maury Gittleman
  • Edward N. Wolff

Abstract

A vast literature in economics has examined the economic progress of African Americans during this century. Most of these studies have focused on income--or on even narrower measures of economic well-being, such as earnings--to assess the extent to which any gains made relative to other racial groups can be attributed to such factors as declining racial discrimination, affirmative action policies, changes in industrial composition, or a narrowing gap between the educational levels of African Americans and the rest of the population. However, studies of earnings and income, while important for assessing the extent to which labor market discrimination exists and the ability of African Americans to move closer to whites in terms of acquiring the skills and connections that are currently rewarded by the markets, provide an incomplete picture. This paper therefore explores how African Americans have fared in terms of wealth, a less well-known factor and an important measure of economic well-being.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number wp_311.

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Date of creation: Aug 2000
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Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_311

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  1. Menchik, Paul L & Jianakoplos, Nancy Ammon, 1997. "Black-White Wealth Inequality: Is Inheritance the Reason?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(2), pages 428-42, April.
  2. Munnell, Alicia H. & Geoffrey M. B. Tootell & Lynn E. Browne & James McEneaney, 1996. "Mortgage Lending in Boston: Interpreting HMDA Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 25-53, March.
  3. Smith, James P & Welch, Finis R, 1989. "Black Economic Progress after Myrdal," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 519-64, June.
  4. Frank P. Stafford & Ngina S. Chiteji, 1999. "Portfolio Choices of Parents and Their Children as Young Adults: Asset Accumulation by African-American Families," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 377-380, May.
  5. Juster, F. Thomas & Smith, James P. & Stafford, Frank, 1999. "The measurement and structure of household wealth," Labour Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 253-275, June.
  6. Long, James E & Caudill, Steven B, 1992. "Racial Differences in Homeownership and Housing Wealth, 1970-1986," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, Western Economic Association International, vol. 30(1), pages 83-100, January.
  7. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura, 1997. "Understanding Why High Income Households Save More Than Low Income Households," Working Papers, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM 9701, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  8. David G. Blanchflower & Phillip B. Levine & David J. Zimmerman, 2003. "Discrimination in the Small-Business Credit Market," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 930-943, November.
  9. Robert W. Fairlie & Bruce D. Meyer, 1996. "Ethnic and Racial Self-Employment Differences and Possible Explanations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(4), pages 757-793.
  10. Fairlie, Robert W, 1999. "The Absence of the African-American Owned Business: An Analysis of the Dynamics of Self-Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 80-108, January.
  11. Nancy Jianakoplos & Paul Menchik & Owen Irvine, 1989. "Using Panel Data to Assess the Bias in Cross-sectional Inferences of Life-Cycle Changes in the Level and Composition of Household Wealth," NBER Chapters, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, in: The Measurement of Saving, Investment, and Wealth, pages 553-644 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Blau, Francine D & Graham, John W, 1990. "Black-White Differences in Wealth and Asset Composition," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 321-39, May.
  13. Powers, Elizabeth T., 1998. "Does means-testing welfare discourage saving? evidence from a change in AFDC policy in the United States," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 33-53, April.
  14. Edward N. Wolff, 1998. "Recent Trends in the Size Distribution of Household Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 131-150, Summer.
  15. Arthur B. Kennickell & Martha Starr-McCluer, 1996. "Household saving and portfolio change: evidence from the 1983-89 SCF panel," Finance and Economics Discussion Series, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) 96-18, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  16. Neuman, Shoshana & Silber, Jacques, 1994. "The econometrics of labor market segregation and discrimination," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 1-4, March.
  17. Erik Hurst & Ming Ching Luoh & Frank P. Stafford, 1998. "The Wealth Dynamics of American Families, 1984-94," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 267-338.
  18. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
  19. Kennickell, Arthur B & Starr-McCluer, Martha, 1997. "Retrospective Reporting of Household Wealth: Evidence from the 1983-1989 Survey of Consumer Finances," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(4), pages 452-63, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Asena Caner & Ed Wolff, 2002. "Asset Poverty in the United States, 1984-1999: Evidence from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Microeconomics, EconWPA 0209002, EconWPA.
  2. Fairlie, Robert W & Robb, Alicia M., 2005. "Why Are Black-Owned Businesses Less Successful than White-Owned Businesses? The Role of Families, Inheritances, and Business Human Capital," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt5gk2188g, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  3. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Vincent Hildebrand, 2004. "The Wealth of Mexican Americans," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers, McMaster University 116, McMaster University.
  4. Rashad, Inas, 2008. "Height, health, and income in the US, 1984-2005," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 108-126, March.
  5. Michael A. Stegman & Allison Freeman & Jong-Gyu Paik, 2007. "The portfolios and wealth of low-income homeowners and renters: findings from an evaluation of Self-Help Ventures Fund’s Community Advantage Program," Community Development Investment Center Working Paper, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco 2007-02, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  6. Drolet, Marie & Zhang, Xuelin & Morissette, Rene, 2002. "The Evolution of Wealth Inequality in Canada, 1984-1999," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2002187e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  7. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Vincent A. Hildebrand, 2006. "The Wealth And Asset Holdings Of U.S.-Born And Foreign-Born Households: Evidence From Sipp Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 52(1), pages 17-42, 03.
  8. Rene Morissette & Xuelin Zhang & Marie Drolet, 2004. "The Evolution of Wealth Inequality in Canada, 1984-1999," Microeconomics, EconWPA 0401004, EconWPA.
  9. Asena Caner & Edward N. Wolff, . "Asset Poverty in The United States: Its Persistence in an Expansionary Economy," Economics Public Policy Brief Archive ppb_76, Levy Economics Institute.
  10. Ronald L. Straight, 2002. "Wealth: Asset-Accumulation Differences by Race–SCF Data, 1995 and 1998," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 330-334, May.
  11. Asena Caner, 2003. "Savings of Entrepreneurs," Economics Working Paper Archive, Levy Economics Institute wp_390, Levy Economics Institute.

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