Despite an enormous and persistent black-white wealth gap, the ascendant American narrative is one that proclaims that our society has transcended the racial divide. The proclamation often is coupled with the claim that remaining disparities are due primarily to dysfunctional behavior on the part of blacks. In such a climate it appears the only acceptable remedial social policies are those that are facially race neutral. However, even without the capacity to redistribute assets directly on the basis of race, our nation still can do so indirectly by judiciously using wealth as the standard for redistributive measures. We offer a bold progressive child development account type program that could go a long way towards eliminating the racial wealth gap.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Bucks et al. (2009) uses the 2007 Survey of Consumer Finance (SCF) and estimates 16 percent ratio of non-white ($27,800) to white ($170,000) median household wealth. Although the SCF figures are more current, because the study design surveyed a greater proportion of affluent households, the wealth statistics are substantially higher for both groups than the earlier SIPP estimates. Further, as a result of sample size issues related to oversampling affluent households, blacks and Latinos are not disaggregated from other non-white groups in the results presented by Bucks et al. (2009).
The actual methods and empirical results of the control exercise are not included in the paper, and multiple attempt were made to solicit this information, but our requests were not fulfilled.
Bates T. Race, self-employment, and upward mobility. Washington, DC: The Woodrow Wilson Center; 1997.
Blau F, Graham J. Black white differences in wealth and asset composition. Q J Econ. 1990;105(2):321–39.
Bogan V, Darity Jr W. Culture and entrepreneurship? African American and immigrant self-employment in the United States. J Socio Econ. 2008;37:1999–2019.
Bucks BK, Kennickell AB, Mach TL, Moore KB. Changes in U.S. family finances from 2004 to 2007: evidence from the survey of consumer finances. Fed Reserve Bull. 2009;95:A1–55.
Chiteji N, Hamilton D. Family connections and the black-white wealth gap among the middle class. Rev Black Polit Econ. 2002;30(1):9–27.
Corporation for Enterprise Development. Hidden in plain sight: A look at the $335 billion federal asset building budget. Washington, DC: Corporation for Enterprise Development; 2004.
Darity Jr W. Stratification economics: the role of intergroup inequality. J Econ Finance. 2005;29(2):144–53.
Darity Jr W. Forty acres and a mule in the 21st century. Soc Sci Q. 2008;89(3):656–64.
Darity Jr W, Frank D. The economics of reparations. Am Econ Rev. 2003;93(2):326–9.
Darity Jr W, Hamilton D. Bernanke Ignore History of Black and White Wealth Rift. The Grio; October 30, 2009.
Gittleman M, Wolff EN. Racial differences in patterns of wealth accumulation. J Hum Resour. 2004;39(1):193–227.
Hamilton D, Darity W, Jr. Race, wealth, and intergenerational poverty: There will never be a post-racial America if the wealth gap persists. The American Prospect; 2009.
Heflin CM, Pattillo M. Kin effects on Black-White account and home ownership. Sociol Inq. 2000;72(2):220–39.
Institute on Race and Poverty, University of Minnesota. Communities in crises: Race and mortgage lending in the twin cities. Report; 2009.
Johnson C. The end of the Black American narrative. The American Scholar; 2008.
John-Hall A. Race still matters in Obama’s post-racial U.S. The Philadelphia Inquirer; 2009.
Katznelson I. When affirmative action was white. New York: W.W. Norton and Company; 2005.
Kochhar R. The wealth of hispanic households. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center; 2004.
Menchik P, Jianakoplos NA. Black-White wealth inequality: is inheritance the reason? Econ Inq. 1997;35(2):428–42.
New York Times. February 4, 2009. Adding up the government’s total bailout tab.
Nopper T. Colorblind Racism and Institutional Actors’ Explanations of Korean Immigrant Entrepreneurship. Critical Sociology. 2010;36:65–85.
Oliver M, Shapiro T. Black wealth/White wealth. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge; 2006.
Sherraden M. Assets and the poor: A new American welfare policy. Armonk: Sharpe; 1991.
Sherraden M. Individual development accounts and policy. In: Blank RM, Barr M, editors. Insufficient funds: Savings, assets, credit, and banking among low-income households. New York: Russell Sage Foundation; 2009.
Ackerman B, Alstot A. The Stakeholder Society. New Haven: Yale University Press; 1999.
African American Economic Summit, Duke University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
About this article
Cite this article
Hamilton, D., Darity, W. Can ‘Baby Bonds’ Eliminate the Racial Wealth Gap in Putative Post-Racial America?. Rev Black Polit Econ 37, 207–216 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12114-010-9063-1
- Racial wealth gap
- Post Racial America
- Child development accounts