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Race, Gender, and Financial Well-Being

Paper Session

Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022 12:15 PM - 2:15 PM (EST)

Hosted By: American Economic Association
  • Chair: Trevon D. Logan, Ohio State University

Black Land Loss: 1920-1970

Dania V. Francis
University of Massachusetts-Boston
Thomas Mitchell
Texas A&M University
Darrick Hamilton
New School
Bryce Wilson Stucki


In this paper, we estimate the value of lost black agricultural land. Countless black farmers fell victim to violent dispossession of their land prior to the Civil Rights reforms of the 1960s. Many more, however, lost land due to discriminatory federal farm credit policies, and the discriminatory implementation of federal, state and local agricultural policies, before, during and after the Civil Rights Era. We use Census of Agriculture data on black ownership of agricultural land from 1910 to 1997 to estimate the present value of average yearly land losses to black land owners. By our most conservative estimate, the dispossession of black agricultural land resulted in the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars of black wealth. However, in addition to its production value, land also has value as collateral for investing in education and other business ventures. Taking this additional value of land into account, depending on multiplier effects, rates of returns, and other factors, the value of lost Black agricultural land reaches into the trillions.

Intersectionality and Financial Inclusion the United States

Vicki Bogan
Cornell University
Sarah Wolfolds
Cornell University


Recent estimates indicate that approximately 9 million households in the United States are
unbanked with an additional 24.5 million households being classified as underbanked. In this paper, we
focus on intersectionality, specifically the intersection of race and gender, to better understand the
probability of being unbanked and underbanked in the U.S. Additionally, we look at which drivers could
be chief contributors to this type of financial exclusion. We find that while white men and white women
have similar levels of engagement with the banking system, black women are significantly more likely than black men to be both unbanked and underbanked.

Who Do You Really Mean? At the Intersection of Race, Working Class Status, and Middle Class Attainment in Young Adults

Fenaba R. Addo
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill


Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1997 Cohort, this new research examines racial inequality in wealth in young adulthood. The analysis explores the intersection of labor force attachment and economic inequality using a wealth based definition of middle class status. Through the lens of stratification economics (Darity Jr et al. 2017), the study also includes an examination of changes in the location of the working class in the wealth distribution for Black and White young adults and an exploration of demographic sources of change in the wealth inequality among the working class. Results indicate that entry in the middle class for working class is racialized and that racialized identity is a stronger predictor of wealth attainment than occupational classifications among Black young adults.

Child-to-Parent Transfers, Social Security Eligibility and Wealth-Building among Adult Children

Andria Smythe
Howard University


Transfers from adult children to elderly parents leave fewer resources for the adult children to invest in their own retirement. If the adult child cannot build sufficient wealth, they may come to depend on the next generation, and the next generation will depend on the next. This cycle of child-to-parent transfers represents an important type of poverty trap faced by many poor households. When households are stuck in a cycle of poverty, they usually require external interventions to break the cycle. Often these interventions are in the form of social and welfare policies. One such policy is social security. Social security lifts more Americans above the poverty line than any other program in the United States. By reducing poverty among the elderly, and thus reducing elderly parents’ reliance on adult children, social security may be able to interrupt the cycle of poverty between generations. Using the BLS’ NLSY mature men/women and young men/women datasets which links younger individuals to their parents, I employ a regression discontinuity approach (RD) to describe the relationships between child-to-parent intergenerational transfers (money and time) and wealth building among the child generation. The RD approach involves studying patterns of intergenerational transfers and wealth among the child generation in the years before versus after the parents reach social security eligibility age 62).

Trevon D. Logan
Ohio State University
JEL Classifications
  • G5 - Household Finance
  • D1 - Household Behavior and Family Economics