Institute on Assets and Social Policy
The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University
Join us on Wednesday, March 12 from 2:00 - 3:30 pm for a dynamic discussion on the characteristics of job quality that lead to wealth building opportunities for families. This webinar will lift up key takeaways from the second report in IASP’s Leveraging Mobility series, Employment Capital: How Work Builds and Protects Family Wealth and Security. The data suggests that the link between employment and building wealth goes far beyond the paycheck. Panelists will also point to factors such as the importance of paid leave, the challenges of part- time and contingent work, and policy opportunities to improve quality employment for families. This webinar is brought to you by members of the Building Economic Security Over a Lifetime Initiative of the Ford Foundation, PolicyLink, Jobs with Justice, and Family Values @ Work.
Click here to register.
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.
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.