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Can ‘Baby Bonds’ Eliminate the Racial Wealth Gap in Putative Post-Racial America?

Abstract

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.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    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).

  2. 2.

    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.

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Correspondence to Darrick Hamilton.

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African American Economic Summit, Duke University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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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

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Keywords

  • Racial wealth gap
  • Post Racial America
  • Child development accounts