January 19, 2018

Bob Williams Presents Two Papers at National Conference


Bob Williams, Professor of Economics, attended this year’s ASSA convention in Philadelphia and presented two papers, one of which earned an Honorable Mention.

Bob Williams

Bob Williams

Professor of Economics

As part of an NEA-sponsored session, Bob presented “Explaining the Racial Wealth Gap: Cultural Differences or Racial Stratification?” In this paper, he examines the racial wealth gap to investigate whether cultural differences among households or sources of economic stratification provide the more compelling explanation for the widening wealth gaps. Using the most recent evidence from the 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances, he finds substantial evidence that disparate opportunities, not differences in financial decisions, matter most.

As part of an URPE-sponsored session, Bob presented a second paper entitled “Household Wealth: Inherited or Merited?” In this paper, he investigates what portion of household-held wealth might come from family gifts and inheritances. He offers a new way of examining this issue as he models how family gifts can serve as “transformative assets”. His results suggest that family support can explain somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of current household wealth.

The Association for Social Economics awarded this paper an Honorable Mention as part of its annual Warren Samuels prize.


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