Super Session: Race at the Center of Research on Economic Well-Being
(Social Equity and Race)

Thursday, November 7, 2019: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Plaza Building: Concourse Level, Plaza Ballroom A & B (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizer:  Tatjana Meschede, Brandeis University
Moderators:  Darrick Hamilton, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, Andria Smythe, Howard University and Tatjana Meschede, Brandeis University
Speakers:  Kilolo Kijakazi1, Tatjana Meschede2, Teresa Kroeger2 and Daniel Lopez Cevallos3, (1)Urban Institute(2)Brandeis University(3)Oregon State University

This panel highlights the roles race/ethnicity and racism in interdisciplinary research on economic well-being and the racial wealth gap. The papers intentionally put race at the center of the analyses, providing original research on links to contributors to and results of racial wealth disparities. This work discusses new and innovative research to help inform the national conversation and policy agenda on reducing racial disparities.

The first paper frames the conversation by focusing on the role of racism in research and policy analysis. This paper brings together insights and lessons learned by a range of research organizations under the leadership of the Urban Institute and highlights a range of critical issues in the approaches of research and policy analyses on race and ethnicity. It further discusses the challenges and constraints faced by research institutions in their work on race and racism and will provide tools and strategies to address them.

Papers 2-4 focus on different aspects contributing to or impacts of racial wealth disparities in the U.S.

Paper 2 focuses on occupational segregation by race, access to employment benefits within these structures, and their impact on the racial wealth gap. Focusing on five of the larger and highly racially segregated industries (restaurants, construction, healthcare, finance, and STEM), analyses show disparities between and within industries in salary, wealth, and benefit structures. Simulations show the impact of equal access to benefits in reducing racial wealth disparities. 

Paper 3 analyzes the relationship between entrepreneurship and wealth mobility, and whether this relationship functions differently for Black and white entrepreneurs. Given black entrepreneurs’ higher likelihood of failure, which is driven by racial discrimination in access to start-up capital, the paper discusses the implications of unsuccessful entrepreneurship for the racial wealth gap.  

Paper 4 brings together health and wealth and shows that we cannot understand social determinants of health without integrating the roles of wealth and race/ethnicity. This work focuses on changes in patterns over time and quantifies how much wealth matters for determining the racial health gap.

Together, these quantitative papers highlight different approaches to conducting research on race. Findings offer important insights for the treatment of race for policymakers, researchers, practitioners, and other key stakeholders, and the central role of racial wealth disparities in the economic well-being of people of color. The overarching goal of this panel is to advance our understanding of and attention to the role of race and racism in the field of policy research.

Chair: Tatjana Meschede, Brandeis University

Discussants: Darrick Hamilton, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity; Andria Smythe, Howard University

Kilolo Kijakazi, The Urban Institute; Steven Brown, The Urban Institute; Charmaine Runes, The Urban Institute; Margery Austin Turner, The Urban Institute - Confronting Structural Racism in Research and Policy Analysis

Laura Sullivan, Brandeis University; Thomas Shapiro, Brandeis University; Tatjana Meschede, Brandeis University; Teresa Kroeger, Brandeis University; Fernanda Escobar, Brandeis University - Not Only Unequal Paychecks: Occupational Segregation, Benefits, and the Racial Wealth Gap

Teresa Kroeger, Brandeis University; Graham W. Wright, Brandeis University - The Role of Entrepreneurship on the Racial Wealth Gap

Daniel Lopez Cevallos, Oregon State University; David Rothwell, Oregon State University - The Racial Health Gap: What Role Does Wealth Play?

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