Institute on Assets and Social Policy
The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University
IASP Director, Thomas Shapiro, will address the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute on April 28, 2014. The event is free an open to the public. Director Shapiro's lecture, "The Racial Wealth Gap: Moving Evidence and Narrative Into Policy", comes on the heels of President Obama's speech commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. During this speech President Obama noted: "There have been examples of success within black America that would have been unimaginable a half century ago...The gap in wealth between races has not lessened, it's grown."
Director Shapiro plans to examine the art of creating and moving evidence into the public arena as an oppositional narrative. From strategic research to partnering, to grass roots community conversations to communications to dissemination to impact—the talk will suggest a model. It will also preview the development of a new tool, The Racial Wealth Audit™, designed as a next critical step in narrative development and policy formation. For more information about the event please click here or call (603) 862-2821.
Income-disrupting life events–divorce, unemployment, poor health, caregiving–occur far more frequently than we think with real costs and consequences for financial well-being. These life events can have deeper consequences that shift life’s trajectories and curtail family-member's dreams.
Not everyone experiences the same risk of income-disrupting life events. Nor do all families have the same depth of resources to navigate them. The result, these life events affect families differently. This new Leveraging Mobility series research brief, Keeping Dreams Alive: The Lane-Changer Costs of Financial Disruptions, reviews how families bear the costs of income-disrupting life events and the financial context that impacts how they make decisions to maintain immediate well-being. This report looks at ways policy can increase the capacity of families to stay on track as well as methods that policy can generate opportunities for families to overcome income-disrupting life events.
For media inquires or to receive a hard copy, please contact Charity Adams at (781) 736-8685. For more information on this report or the Leveraging Mobility series, please contact Hannah Thomas at (781) 736-3819.
Nationally, it is well known that African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, and certain members of the Asian/Pacific Islander population are underrepresented in certain segments of the U.S. health care workforce. This mismatch between the patient and provider population contributes to health disparities and excludes minority professionals from jobs that pay well and offer advancement opportunities. For the first time, Missing Persons? Health Care Workforce Diversity in New Hampshire examines available data to assess whether the health care workforce in New Hampshire mirrors national trends and answers two questions: To what extent is New Hampshire "missing" certain groups of people in its health care workforce? What are some key trends by race and ethnicity in Southern New Hampshire's health care workforce?
Findings demonstrate that racial and ethnic minorities are over-represented in nursing and residential care facilities, and underrepresented in hospitals and ambulatory care settings, indicating that workers of color may be missing out on jobs that pay well and offer opportunity for advancement. This brief was produced under the ongoing research projects Beyond Supply and Demand funded by the Endowment for Health, and the Healthcare Employer Research Initiative funded by the U.S. HSS Administration for Children and Families. For more information, contact Jessica Santos at (781) 736-8685.
Occurring amidst the backdrop of the Great Recession, 10 state asset building coalitions were able to demonstrate that efforts to build greater financial security and economic opportunity do not have to stall-out or simply tread water in economic downturns. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation selected these ten coalitions through a competitive process. All ten participated in a three-year coalition development and peer-learning process aimed at advancing asset building policies and practices in their states. The Institute on Assets and Social Policy served as a research and learning partner to this initiative. IASP documented those key lessons learned in the just released report “State Asset Building Coalitions: Perspectives from the Field.” This report uses concrete examples from the ten state asset building coalitions, offers practical tools to help states build their residents’ financial security and stability, and demonstrates the importance of peer-learning.
The report reveals that state asset building coalitions can take big and small steps to advance policies and practices that open the doors of opportunity to both middle and low income residents in their states. Coalitions in Michigan and Maryland incentivized and accelerated savings among low-income families. Illinois eliminated major barriers to saving by abolishing asset limits for TANF eligibility. Texas is giving young people hope for a college education by providing financial education and matched college savings accounts. “State Asset Building Coalitions: Perspectives from the Field” also details the efforts of California, Arkansas, Washington State, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and New Mexico.
Who should read this report? Those with a stake in the economic and social well-being of their state: funders, nonprofits, government representatives, members of the business community, elected officials and others. It provides compelling evidence of ways coalitions are coming together to use asset-based strategies to improve family self-sufficiency and strengthen the economic and social fabric of their states, and highlights the importance of networking across states to advance effective and efficient practice.
For media inquires or to receive a hard copy, please contact Charity Adams at (781) 736-8685. For more information about the report you may contact Janet Boguslaw at (781) 736-3738 or Martha Cronin at (781) 736-8680.
The second report in the Leveraging Mobility series, “Employment Capital: How Work Builds and Protects Family Wealth and Security,” suggests the link between employment and building wealth goes far beyond the paycheck. Drawing on the lived experiences of families, this report adds a critical new understanding of the connection between work and wealth.
Interviewing young families in the late 1990s—when the economy was growing and prosperous—and again in 2010—during a stagnant economy amid dramatic wealth loss—we were surprised to find that more than two-thirds had seen their wealth increase. As we talked to them, it became clear that many factors were at play. One important observation was that for many of the families that built wealth, the characteristics of their employment facilitated a pathway to accumulating wealth that income alone could not provide.
A puzzle remained, however. African-American families in our interview sample saw their incomes and educations rise in relation to those of white families, and yet their wealth increased at a significantly lower rate. Sifting through the interview data and aligning it with national data as a comparison, it became clear that wealth-building job characteristics are distributed unequally, and sorted through race, class, and occupation.
The findings were presented in a webinar in February 2014. This webinar was sponsored by the Center for Financial Security, University of Wisconsin-Madison. During this webinar IASP Senior Researcher, Hannah Thomas, took a closer look at the implications of the study answered: What is employment capital? What role does it play for families? How does it drive wealth accumulation? What are the current trends in economic mobility in relation to employment? And what are the policy implications? A summary of the presentation can be found here.
Contact Hannah Thomas at (781) 736-3819 for more information.
Janet Boguslaw, Associate Director, participated in a Webinar "The Work to Wealth Escalator: Why a Quality Job is More than Just Income" hosted by members of the Building Economic Security Over a Lifetime Initiative of the Ford Foundation, PolicyLink, Jobs with Justice, and Family Values @ Work. The webinar focused on the second report in IASP's Leveraging Mobility series, Employment Capital: How Work Builds and Protects Family Wealth and Security. Click to listen to the webinar.
IASP releases the first brief in the Leveraging Mobility series, "Leveraging Mobility: Building Wealth, Security and Opportunity for Family Well-Being", that looks at how families build and secure wealth.
In a decade of stagnating economic mobility, and increasing income and wealth inequality, how have families built and secured a nest egg for their own retirement security and to leverage their children’s future well-being? What are the pathways and structures that helped them get on and stay on the wealth escalator? Drawing on a unique dataset of longitudinal interviews conducted twelve years apart, families with children in three major cities across the nation were asked about their assets, wealth, income, economic security and life aspirations. The Leveraging Mobility series examines how working and middle class families use assets to advance security and mobility, or struggle to gain ground in the absence of assets.
This first brief “Leveraging Mobility: Building Wealth, Security and Opportunity for Family Well-Being” highlights some surprising key findings, and provides information on how families in the study have fared over the first decade of the twenty-first century.
Contact Hannah Thomas at (781) 736-3819 for more information.
IASP releases the report, Perspectives and Practices of New Hampshire Health Care Employers: Improving Quality, Reducing Costs, and Planning for the Future by Building Culturally Effective Health Care Organizations. Drawing from over 50 interviews, this report gives voice to what New Hampshire health care employers and workers are saying about how the health care system can better serve the growing minority patient population and all New Hampshire residents through increased diversity in the workforce. It is the first of a series that will examine best practices for effectively responding to the changing health care environment through a focus on workplace and workforce innovations that lead to more culturally effective organizations. This initiative is funded by a grant from U.S. HHS Administration for Children and Families.
IASP produced a new study published by The Pew Charitable Trusts, Making Hard Choices: Navigating the Economic Shock of Unemployment, examines how American families manage unexpected financial setbacks and how those periods of economic uncertainty draw down financial resources, leaving them more insecure in the future. The report studies families across race and income levels, revealing different experiences resulting from unemployment and the difficult choices many of them face.
Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative analysis, the study takes a close look at varying experiences of unemployment across race and family income from 1999 to 2009. The research shows that families at every rung of the economic ladder experienced unemployment and other financial setbacks, but families at the bottom of the income ladder, Latinos, and blacks had the greatest risk of job loss and the least access to resources to buffer negative impacts.
Krissy Clark of NPR's Marketplace reported on the study in "Recovery from Job Loss: Easier for Whites than Blacks". Click below to listen:
The dramatic gap in household wealth that now exists along racial lines in the United States cannot be attributed to personal ambition and behavioral choices, but rather reflects policies and institutional practices that create different opportunities for whites and African-Americans, new research shows.
So powerful are these government policies and institutional practices that for typical families, a $1 increase in average income over the 25-year study period generates just $0.69 in additional wealth for an African-American household compared with $5.19 for a white household, in part because black households have fewer opportunities to grow their savings beyond what’s needed for emergencies.
This groundbreaking study, The Roots of the Widening Racial Wealth Gap: Explaining the Black-White Economic Divide, statistically validates five “fundamental factors” that together largely explain why white households accumulate wealth so much faster over time than African-American households.
On February 27, 2013 there was a webinar hosted by the Insight Center’s Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative, PolicyLink, and Tom Shapiro, Director of the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University. This webinar presented breakthrough research on what has been fueling our country’s growing racial wealth divide for the past 25 years. Click here to listen to the playback.
As America continues to become more diverse, the nation’s ability to achieve sustained growth and prosperity hinges on how quickly we can erase lingering racial and class divides and fully apply everyone’s talents and creativity to building the next economy.
IASP Director, Tom Shapiro, was recently on the Melissa Harris-Perry show discussing the racial wealth gap indepth.