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Exploring the Racial Wealth Gap: The Contributions of Redlining and Blockbusting

DAN SULLIVAN: Thank you for joining us for our event today, "Exploring the Racial Wealth Gap: the Contributions of Redlining and Blockbusting." The racial wealth gap is obviously a big and extremely important topic. As you might know, while the gap in income between white and Black households is quite significant and disturbing, the gap in wealth is just enormous.

Indeed, depending on whether one looks at medians or means, estimates are that the typical white household has roughly eight or 10 times as much wealth as the typical Black household. It's important to understand how that gap in wealth came to be, what factors keep it in place, and what policies can begin to eliminate it. As part of that big project, we have a great program today.

Kristen Broady, the Director of the Chicago Fed's Economic Mobility Project, will start us off with a quick overview of some of the major economic factors that impact the racial wealth gap. Then, we'll drill down to discuss some recent research at the Chicago Fed on historical policies and practices that contributed to the racial wealth gap.

First, Dan Aaronson will discuss his and colleagues work on redlining, and then Dan Hartley will describe his research with Jonathan Rose on blockbusting. Yes, you may have noticed today is the Chicago Fed Day of the Dans, but we're all glad to be here.

Following the research presentations, we'll have a fantastic panel of experts who are lined up to discuss the work and other topics important to understanding and addressing the wealth gap. They'll also offer some thoughts on some of the questions that were submitted by audience members when they register for this event.

I should note that a recording of today's event will be posted on our website, as well as a meeting summary. Now, I would like to turn it over to Kristen Broady who will present her framing document on the racial wealth gap. Kristen.

KRISTEN BROADY: Thank you, Dan. So I'm going to present economic facts about the US racial wealth gap. This is a paper that I wrote with Darlene Booth-Bell and Taylor Griffin.

So the COVID-19 pandemic created a global health and financial crisis. Both the health and economic impacts of the pandemic have varied based on race and ethnicity. Black and Hispanic workers, who are more likely to work in the service sector, have been less likely than white or Asian workers to telework.

But for many years prior to the pandemic, there were large racial disparities in various economic indicators, including income and wealth. Black people in America have on average lower earnings, lower rates of home ownership, less access to banking services, pay more for credit, have lower levels of retirement savings, and have higher loan denial rates than their white counterparts, all factors that contribute to vast disparities in wealth between their households and white households.

So let's look at the racial wealth gap. This slide shows median net worth by race or ethnicity in 2019. Wealth is measured by net worth is the value of assets of a person or corporation owns, minus the liabilities that they owe. And so in 2019, the average white household had a median net worth of $189,100, 5.2 times greater than the median net worth of the average Hispanic household at $36,050, and 7.8 times greater than the median net worth of the average Black household, at $24,100.

Now, the racial disparity in household wealth is even more pronounced when average net worth is considered. In 2019, the mean net worth for the average white household was $980,550, compared to $165,540 for the average Hispanic household and $142,330 for the average Black household. So now, let's look at racial disparities in income.

This figure shows median before tax family income by race or ethnicity between 1989 and 2019. Data from the Survey of Consumer Finances reveal large and persistent disparities in income by race and ethnicity during that time. So during that time, before tax family income for white households averaged 28 percentage points higher than before tax family income for Black households and 25 percentage points higher than before tax income for Hispanic households.

Next, let's look at home ownership. Homeownership is a part of the American dream. And for many families, housing is the largest component of wealth. In the first quarter of 2022, the homeownership rate was 65.4%. At 74%, the homeownership was highest for white Americans, followed by 59.4% for Asian-Americans, 49.1% for Hispanic Americans, and just 44.7% for Black Americans.

The figure shows the annual home ownership rate by race and ethnicity between 1983 and 2021, clearly illustrating a significant gap in homeownership between white, Black, and Hispanic households. Since 2018, the homeownership rate for white Americans has averaged 73.9%, 30.4 percentage points higher than the rate for Black Americans, and 25.6 percentage points higher than the rate for Hispanic Americans.

Here, this slide shows retirement account ownership by race and ethnicity. In 2019, median total asset holdings were about $228,000, with 98.7% of American families having some sort of asset. But here, we look at what people have for retirement. And so we see that at each age, white people have the highest rate-- they have the highest rate of account ownership. And so this makes us think about how people are going to be prepared for retirement.

This slide shows retirement savings. So the last slide show the percentage of people that owned those accounts, but here we clearly see retirement savings by race or ethnicity from 2019. And we see that white, non-Hispanic Americans had retirement account savings at the median of $80,000 compared to Black, non-Hispanic people at $35,000, much less, and Hispanic Americans at $31,000. So we see this real disparity in who has savings and how much retirement savings they actually have.

So next, let's look at banking status. This is the banking status percentage by race or ethnicity. Now, today, with access to the internet on laptops, on cell phones, on tablets, consumers can access their accounts and their financial information from just about anywhere. But access to credit and banking services is uneven based on race and ethnicity in this country.

And unbanked rates are higher for Americans who earn lower incomes, are less educated, are Black, Hispanic, American Indian, or Alaska Native, working age disabled, and those who experience income volatility. So we're not just talking about who has a bank account or who doesn't, but we also need to consider banking fees. And banking fees differ by race.

So according to a 2019 Bankrate survey, the average monthly fee for a checking account holder at a bank or credit union was $7.69. But we see disparities by race. So on average, Hispanic bank account holders paid the highest monthly fees, $15.85, followed by Black bank account holders who pay $12.30, and white bank account holders who pay $5.20.

Now, I've already told you that Black and Hispanic people have lower incomes, lower wealth, less access to banks. But for those bank accounts when they do have them, they pay higher fees on average. So let's look at credit scores, because we know that to buy a home, or to rent an apartment, or for many other things, they look at your credit score.

The FICO score is the most widely-used credit score used by lenders to help understand people's credit risk when making lending decisions. With $10 billion scores purchased every year and 27 million scores purchased every day, in 2021, Black and Hispanic Americans had lower average credit scores than their white or Asian-American counterparts.

Here, we look at education. We know that education is how you get a job. It's how you figure out what skills you're going to have. It's what your income may end up being based on. And in 2019, white Americans were more likely to earn a baccalaureate degree, but Black Americans bore a higher financial burden for higher education.

So this slide presents data from the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances that shows mean education installment loans by race and ethnicity from 1989 to 2019. And in 2019, the mean education installment loan amount for Black Americans was $44,880, compared to $40,170 for white Americans and $30,890 for Hispanic Americans. While this presentation has shared data on the racial wealth gap and economic factors that influence it, the data show that no single factor fully explains the disparity in net worth between households of various races.

However, by analyzing economic factors that impact the racial disparity in net worth between households, and historical structural factors that have blocked opportunities for economic mobility for Black and Latino or Hispanic Americans, policymakers can make recommendations aimed toward reducing the racial wealth gap. Thank you. Now, I'd like to introduce Chicago Fed Senior Vice President and Associate Director of Research Dan Aaronson, who will discuss his research on redlining.

DAN AARONSON: OK. Thank you, Kristen. OK, so thanks for the opportunity to actually talk about some of our work on the maps that were originally drawn in the mid 1930s by a former federal agency called the Homeowner Loan Corp. Actually, social science historians have known about these maps for a long, long time.

And there have been, periodically, papers arisen about individual cities and the impact of the maps on those cities. But something fundamental happened a few years ago. Some researchers at the University of Richmond uncovered a trove of maps at the National Archives and digitized them and published them so that they're actually usable. And that's led to an explosion of interest in them recently.

I should be paying attention to my slides here. So my plan is to briefly talk about two sets of results that we have that I think speak to issues about long run trends in racial disparities and inequities as a result of past policies. So the first set of results I'm going to show you are about how the maps impacted the trajectories of urban neighborhoods for several decades.

And second, I'll show you that the maps impacted the schooling and earnings of children who grew up around the time the maps were drawn, which, of course, affects their ability to accumulate wealth. And given what we know about intergenerational economic mobility, an impact on one generation filters down to future ones. So to kick off a discussion like this, it's important to actually tell you why the maps were drawn in the first place.

So after the foreclosure crisis of the early-1930s, for the first time ever, the federal government stepped into housing markets and created many of the agencies and housing finance products we have today. They also refi'd a substantial number of underwater mortgages. And this is generally credited with helping get housing markets back on track in the mid-1930s.

But now, the government has skin in the housing game through their backing of about a million refinanced mortgages, the introduction of mortgage insurance, and a number of other programs. So it was decided that lenders and the government needed better information about the risks they were taking on. And it's with that in mind that they went about creating a new residential appraisal system.

That's basically what the maps are. They're just a giant appraisal of neighborhoods in urban settings. So to do this, they hired local people from the industry-- bankers, real estate agents, and appraisers-- to create and grade neighborhoods on a scale of A to D. So here's an example of a map from New York City.

Again, there are four grades. The highest, A, is shaded in green. You don't see too many of those except in Manhattan. Next is blue, then yellow, and, finally, the lowest grade, or, D, is in red. The thing I really want you to take on board with these maps is that the neighborhood grades switch often as you move through a city.

And we're going to be focusing on those narrow spots, actually streets, where grades abruptly change by one grade level-- in particular, going from D to a C or from C to a B to help identify what the impact of the maps actually were. It's also important for me to mention that the Federal Housing Administration drew comparable maps, with the same number of grades and colors, and they likely consulted with similar housing experts at the time.

Sadly, the FHA maps were destroyed in the late-1960s. Rumor has it that it was about a lawsuit. But we know they were explicitly used to determine mortgage insurance provisions and, ultimately, loan terms in these different neighborhoods. And that could plausibly be the channel in which the HOLC maps which preceded them, but perhaps weren't widely dispersed, might have mattered.

So why were the maps infamous? And why are we still talking about them? Well, I find it helpful to look at the scorecards that the appraisers actually had to fill out. This is a very cherry-picked example from a neighborhood in Tacoma, Washington, of all places, that was graded D-- again, the lowest grade.

So the writing is a little small, so hard to see. So let me just walk you through this. On the left side is a list of stuff you might expect to collect to determine the relative economic prosperity of a neighborhood-- so things like the age and condition of the housing stock, recent house sale prices, and stuff like that.

At the bottom of the cards is a place to put open comments. In this particular case, it reads, this might be classed as a low yellow area-- so that's one up from red-- if not for the presence of the number of Negroes and low class foreign families who reside in the area. OK, so what does that mean?

Well, if you go to the top of the card, it actually tells you what fraction of families are, quote unquote, "low class foreign families" or Black. And turns out the share of the population that's Black is 2%. So just having 2% of the population Black led to a drop in the grade from C to D. And again, that impacts the ability to finance a home in this neighborhood.

So in a nutshell, that's the primary reason we still care about the HOLC maps and the FHA maps. They explicitly used race, ethnicity, religion, and immigration status to determine access to credit. And this led to disparate impacts that I'm going to show you we believe reverberated for decades.

So that said, it's actually not that easy to evaluate the maps. For example, it is flat out wrong to compare modern data from C and D neighborhoods and ascribe the difference to the maps. Doing that confounds lots and lots of stuff that has taken place over many decades. And more fundamentally, the maps were not drawn randomly. In particular, they reflected how industry experts at the time saw credit worthiness across neighborhoods. And it's reasonable to think these differences may very well have persisted regardless of whether the maps were actually drawn.

So initially, we thought a simple solution was to focus on residents that lived super close to each other-- like, say, a block or two away, but are living on separate sides of map borders with different grades. So what does this solve? Well, nearby neighbors should have many common experiences-- access to labor markets, public transportation, schools, shopping, and the like. But the border means that they're living in places with different access to credit.

We learned, actually, through trial and error that the strategy helps but does not fully solve the core problem, because many map boundaries were drawn precisely where economic and demographic gaps already existed, and, in some cases, were actually growing. And I'll show you an example of that on the next slide.

So we have a number of solutions to this problem. Let me just very briefly tell you two of them that I'll talk about today. The first is to create placebo boundaries within the same cities, where we see similar observable gaps arise before the maps were drawn. And then we can compare what happened around these kind of fake boundaries to the real map ones.

So in the graphs I'm going to show you, I'll call this the comparable boundaries approach. And the second thing we can do is find real map borders of neighborhoods with different grades that we wouldn't have expected to be drawn simply because the composition of residents on the lower and higher graded sides were initially identical. And we're going to call these idiosyncratic borders.

And our papers, if you're interested, talk about why they may have arisen. OK, so now let me actually show you what happened. So I'm going to I'm going to talk through one particular set of results and then quickly show you a bunch of others.

So this particular graph is showing you the share of residents that are Black on the D side versus the C side of a boundary,. The blue line is the actual HOLC boundaries. So again, everyone's living very close by. But from 1910 to through 1930, the D side had a higher share of its population that was Black-- so these positive numbers here-- and this was growing over time between 1920 and 1930. These neighborhoods are actually becoming more racially sorted.

So that's something that the mapmakers are probably picking up on. So the red line is our attempt to create these placebo boundaries, which mimic these patterns prior to the maps being drawn. Then the maps are drawn in the late-1930s, and what you see is a widening gap between the actual map boundaries in blue and these placebo borders in red. What does this mean in English?

It means that the D-rated side of a D-C border had roughly 10 percentage point higher share of Black residents relative to the C side. That is the D side, which was already where the vast majority of urban Black residents lived, became even more racially sorted. Starting in the '70s, that gap starts to decline.

But even by 2010, which is the latest data we have right now, there's still a small gap. By the way, it's important to understand why the effects began to reverse in the '70s. We strongly suspect that various Federal laws instituted at that time, like the Fair Housing Act and the Community Reinvestment Act, played a role, although this remains an open question.

So briefly, we find similar results-- pretty much any way we kind of do this, we find very similar results. These are all still share black at the top for D versus C. On the bottom, I did want to show you what was going on along the C and B boundaries, because it's pretty startling. Actually, pretty much the same thing happened. Even though there were essentially no Black residents on either the C or B side when the maps were drawn, you see the same pattern of racial sorting on the two sides after they're drawn.

The impact on housing markets was also economically significant and persistent. This set of graphs is for house values. You see the same thing for home ownership rates-- being on the lower graded side of a map boundary led to lower home ownership, lower house prices, and all this is consistent with the cumulative impact of differential investments that the maps may have caused by making housing finance less affordable on the lower graded side.

So let me quickly conclude by talking about what happened to the kids that lived in these neighborhoods. It turns out we were able to link the kids in the 1940 census to their Federal tax filings 35 to 40 years later to see how their earnings looked in the prime of their working careers. And we can also match these kids to later censuses to determine how much their education may ultimately have been affected.

On education, we find that growing up on the lower graded side of either a DC or a CB boundary led to about 0.2 years less formal education on average. And on average, those who grew up on the lower grade side had annual wage and salary income that was about $1 to $3,000 lower annual. Moreover, when you look at adjusted gross income, which includes all forms of earnings not just labor income, the effects were even larger for the former CB residents, which suggests that access to credit in childhood ultimately led to lower returns to a business or investment income, the things that are being picked up by the difference between labor income and AGI, i.e. wealth, again, among those growing up on the lower graded side.

So I'll wrap up there. Big picture, we think this new research of ours and others that are working on this fits nicely into a really growing literature and economic history more generally that stresses the highly persistent effects that policy can have. And in this particular case, we believe the damage inflicted by these appraisal methods, especially during the few decades following World War II, caused this divestment that has been significant, persistent, and inequitable.

And so lastly, I'll just tee up the next speaker, Dan Hartley of the Chicago Fed, by noting that redlining is just one of a number of potentially important housing and urban development policies that were happening during this period and earlier that may have had effects on cities and their residents. And listed a few of those on the bottom of the slide.

Oh, no I didn't. I took it off. But Dan will be talking about one in particular, which is blockbusting. So let me turn it over to Dan.

DAN HARTLEY: Thanks a lot, Dan. So this next project is joint with Jonathan Rose, who's also an economist at the Chicago Fed. And it's benefited greatly from excellent research assistance by Kate Bennett. Also, I should mention that what I'm going to present are the views of the authors, not necessarily the Chicago Fed or the Federal Reserve System.

OK. So let me start by giving some historical context regarding blockbusting. Construction of new homes fell by about 75% from 1941 to 1944 as resources were diverted towards the war effort. At the same time, the Second Great Migration was underway. From 1940 through 1970, over 4 million Black people left the South for cities in the North.

Prior to 1948, Black people had been excluded from many neighborhoods, either by explicit racial covenants written into real estate deeds or by the threat of violence. However, in 1948, the US Supreme Court ruled in the Shelly versus Kraemer case that racially restrictive housing covenants were illegal. So this set the stage for a real estate practice that came to be called blockbusting.

The first New York Times reference I could find to blockbusting was regarding a neighborhood in Queens in 1959. Blockbusting referred to the deliberate targeting of a neighborhood or block for racial turnover. The idea was to induce panic-selling by preying on the racial fears of existing white residents. Sometimes, this was accompanied by the use of aggressive tactics, such as posting for sale signs, going door to door to pressure people into selling, and the use of shell companies.

After buying from white residents, possibly at a discount, the blockbuster would mark up the price, sell it to a Black buyer, and commonly provide financing in the form of an installment contract, which denied the buyer any equity in the home until the final payment was made. In Baltimore, there were cases of fraud where blockbusters used Federal Housing Administration and Veterans Administration mortgage programs to finance the sales to Black buyers, but lied about the buyer's credit worthiness to obtain larger mortgages.

Seem to be missing a few slides. OK. OK, so I'm missing a slide, but I'll describe it. So the first part of our study, we scoured newspapers, books, and journals for references to blockbusting in the 60 largest cities in 1950. We found them in 45 of those cities. And in most of those cities, we were able to identify the neighborhoods where it occurred.

The map that would be at this point in the slide deck shows a map of Chicago. And we identified blockbusting as having occurred in red shaded neighborhoods, which in the map you can see are kind of just to the west and to the south of existing majority Black neighborhoods. So we find this as kind of a common pattern in terms of blockbusting in the cities in our study.

And what we do is we compare those blockbusting neighborhoods to neighborhoods that bordered them, that were just right around them, to find a good comparison group. So I'm going to briefly describe the findings from this neighborhood level analysis, and then I'll discuss in more detail property level analysis.

So we find that relative to the nearby tracts without blockbusting, the blockbusting neighborhoods showed initial signs of increased housing demand, reflected by an increase of the Black population share by 4 percentage points, a 3% increase in home values, a 4% increase in rent, and a 5% increase in population density. The longer run results looking out to 1980 and 1990 show a further increase in the Black population share. However, the initial signs of increased demand have reversed and home values have dropped by 15% by 1980, rents by 6% by 1990, and population density is down by 3% by 1990.

Now, I'm going to turn to the property level analysis. So for data availability reasons, we focus on a particular neighborhood in West Baltimore called Edmondson Village, shown by the blue arrow on this map, which is otherwise similar to the map of Chicago. Now you get to see the map. This is the neighborhood that is a subject of a sociological study of blockbusting by Ed Orser.

The neighborhood had a Black population share that was less than 1% in 1950 and was 96% by 1970. With this data, we can observe all real estate transaction actions from 1954 to 1976, including sales, mortgages, foreclosures, and installment contracts after 1965. This table shows the prevalence of different types of ownership changes across the roughly 2,600 properties in our data.

Row 1 shows that 43% of the properties were sold by an individual to a realty company, likely a blockbuster, and back to an individual within this time frame. Row 2 shows that 25% were sold from an individual to a realty company and not resold within the time frame. This may encompass properties that were sold by blockbusters to Black households using installment contracts before 1965 when we can't observe them.

Rows 3 and 4 show that 19% were sold from an individual to another individual once. And 8% were sold between individuals multiple times. Finally, 5% never transacted. To the right of the table, we show that for sales that went through blockbusters, the subsequent foreclosure rate was 15%.

However, for sales directly from an individual to an individual, the subsequent foreclosure rate was only 2%. This discrepancy is likely due to the high financial burden of paying the markups charged by blockbusters and using their financing. However, there is some chance that most creditworthy buyers were able to buy from other individuals with cash and the more liquidity constrained and less creditworthy borrowers had to buy through Blockbusters

Why were foreclosure and dispossession rates so high when Black people bought through a blockbuster? The first reason may have been the high prices that they paid. The graph at the right shows red dots for prices that blockbusters paid to buy homes from white households over time, usually under $10,000.

The blue dots show the prices that Black households paid to buy the same homes from the blockbusters, usually over $10,000. Finally, the black dots show the sale prices of homes that transacted directly from individual to individual. These were usually somewhere in the middle. The other two factors that may have played a role in the high subsequent foreclosure rates were the fact that, on average, by 1980, home prices fell 15% more in blockbusting neighborhoods than in nearby neighborhoods that did not experience blockbusting. And that installment contract financing was commonly used by blockbusters, which meant that the buyer built up no equity in the home until the final payment was made, and, thus, could lose everything by missing a payment.

To conclude, we learn from our tract level analysis that blockbusting caused extreme racial turnover and relative declines in home values compared to nearby neighborhoods without blockbusting. Our property level analysis showed that high rates of foreclosure may have contributed to lower prices by the 1980s. Finally, in thinking about the racial wealth gap, we see that Black households bought from blockbusters, while finally gaining access to neighborhoods that had been denied to them before, wound up paying a high price for homes that declined in value

A recent study from the Samuel Dubois Cook Center for Social Equity by Ornstein Smith, and McNamara, and others analyzed contract sales in Chicago and found that after taking markups into account and higher financing costs compared to an FHA mortgage, that Black households were paying on average an extra $72,000. And that's kind of on a mean home value at roughly $120,000. All these are in 2019 dollar terms.

Depending on how their assumptions interact with ours, this translates to a return on investment for Black households buying from blockbusters using installment contract financing of roughly minus-15% to minus-46% versus a plus-20% return on investment for white households who might have been buying in new construction areas using FHA mortgages. One can see how this episode could be yet another factor contributing to today's racial wealth gap. Thank you. Back to you, Kristen.

KRISTEN BROADY: Thank you so much, Dan. I really enjoyed both of your presentations there. I would now like to introduce our panelists. We are joined by Nicole Elam Esquire, who is the President and CEO of the National Bankers Association. Dr. William Sandy Darity is the Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African-American studies, and Economics, and the Director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University.

Dr. Andre Perry, my old boss, is a Senior Fellow at Brookings Metro and a Scholar in Residence at American University. Dr. Damon Jones is an Associate Professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. And now, I am pleased to introduce my long time friend Natalie Y. Moore, who will serve as the moderator for this panel. Natalie.

NATALIE MOORE: Good afternoon. And thank you, Kristen, for having me do this conversation. There are so many people on here who I admire and helped me with my own work in journalism. So just to get started-- listening to all of this is, you all are entrenched in this work. You know this data. It's depressing.

So I want to do some reflection and then talk about policy and who can be held accountable. And I know where some of you stand on those issues. But of the various determinants of the racial wealth gap-- income, education, home ownership-- if each of you could go around and tell me which ones you believe are the most significant drivers in our current economy. And, Andre, I'll just.

ANDRE PERRY: Yeah, there you go.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

ANDRE PERRY: Because I work on a lot of housing policy, I'll stay with housing. But I'll just emphasize this point-- that housing inequality exacerbates and has exacerbated existing wealth gaps caused by a number of factors. But it is a significant barrier to addressing the racial wealth gap because it's one of those issues in which the inability to have an asset of the home really puts Black populations behind for generations.

But it's not the main driver. I know there are several that existed before then-- slavery, Jim Crow racism that are still with us. But housing inequality has a function that exacerbates existing racial wealth gaps.

NICOLE ELAM: Yeah, I would jump in and echo that point. The reality of it is that so many of these determinants are interrelated, right? We know that if you've got education, oftentimes that impacts your income, which impacts your ability to own a home. And so they're all very much related.

But when you step back and look at what the key drivers of creating wealth are, home ownership was a huge driver of creating wealth. And so we see the impacts-- we just had this history lesson-- we see the impacts when Black and Brown neighborhoods were classified as hazardous. And so they could not have access to federally backed mortgages.

And so the impact of that we're still seeing today. But I do think that they're all so related. One impacts the other. They all build upon one another.

WILLIAM DARITY: OK, I'll go next. I think that the decisive factor shaping the racial wealth gap is the intergenerational transmission of resources. Whites have resources to give to their children and grandchildren. Black Americans do not.

And there's a host of historic reasons tied to government policy that account for that disparity. The first is in the aftermath of slavery, the newly emancipated were promised 40-acre land grants as restitution for their years of slavery. And they received nothing, while 1 and 1/2 million white families received 160-acre land grants apiece in the Western territories under the Homestead Act.

And I think it's that moment, that land allocation policy, that's the foundation for the current racial wealth differential. Throughout the course of the Jim Crow years, there was a series of upwards of 100 massacres that took place all across the country, white massacres directed against Black communities, that led to the destruction of Black-owned property, in addition to the taking of Black lives.

So that was another factor that reinforced the gap in wealth between Blacks and whites. These two very interesting studies that have been produced at the Chicago Fed refer to phenomenon in the 20th century where the focus shifts to home ownership rather than land distribution as an asset-building procedure. These two studies indicate that housing discrimination was a critical factor in terms of separating the equity values that Blacks and whites have in their homes.

But I would also add that there's the GI Bill that was introduced at the end of World War II, which was administered in a discriminatory fashion as well. Subsequent to that, we have the Federal highway system, where interstate freeways and local freeways were run through the heart of Black communities all across the country, destroying their business districts.

And so it's a set of federal policies that, over time, have had the cumulative effect of producing the racial wealth gap. And I think that's where we have to start our analysis.

DAMON JONES: I would just say I think I agree with all the previous comments about these forces that contribute. And kind of related to what Dr. Darity was saying-- I would just add that in a kind of circular way, existing wealth gaps basically feed into future wealth gaps. So it's kind of self perpetuating.

There's some interesting research recently by an economist, Ellora Derenoncourt, and her coauthors that showed that the wealth gap that existed in 1870, even if you just took that as a given and gave Black and white households the same sort of income and saving rates over time, you wouldn't be able to completely close that gap. And so when you start off with an initial difference in wealth, it's very hard to close that gap through just higher savings rates or maybe higher returns to assets.

It takes a significant amount of savings or very fortuitous investments to close this pre-existing wealth gap. So they kind of are self-perpetuating.

KRISTEN BROADY: And I would say just to build off that point, the reality of it is that it was not one set of policies. But there were different policies that impacted different areas. And so that's why when we talk about the wealth gap and solutions, it has to be comprehensive.

There were a number of different policies over time in different areas that impacted it that led to the place to where it's not just about we need more savings. It's not just about we need more retirement, we need more homeowner-- it's a comprehensive set of solutions that are needed to address where we are today.

WILLIAM DARITY: Yeah. I'd like to add to that because that's an excellent point. I'd like to add to that the fact that we typically think about wealth accumulation not so much in terms of what parents and grandparents transfer to the younger generation, but we think about it in terms of personal savings out of direct flow of income than any one of us might receive.

And I think that's an inaccurate picture. And I would like to add to the notion that that's inaccurate some work that's been done by a couple of economists, Jermaine Tony and Catherine Robertson, where they demonstrate that our personal income is dependent upon the wealth position of our parents and our grandparents.

NATALIE MOORE: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the racial wealth gap? Have all individually done any research around that? And if not, whose work are you leaning on to help illuminate?

ANDRE PERRY: One, I mean, let's be very plain, Black people are dying at higher rates. There's nothing that extracts wealth like a loss of life. It impacts families for generations.

And because Blacks are disproportionately more frontline workers, more essential workers, we were disproportionately exposed, intergenerational housing, higher rates of intergenerational housing increased that exposure. And again, as all the panelists have said, the conditions were established by government policies.

These things are not coincidence that we happen to work in certain jobs, that we happen to have certain types of housing. These are all federal policies. And so much of the pandemic, I don't want to lose sight that we lost life at very high rates, which took out breadwinners, people supporting families. And that part is immeasurable.

NICOLE ELAM: Yeah. I think the pandemic exasperated what was already in existence, right? So with the pandemic came an economic crisis. And we know with the economic crisis, whenever there's a downturn, Black and Brown communities are hit first and hardest.

And so I think it exasperated all of those things. What I would say may have been different about this pandemic than prior pandemics, or what I would say an economic downturn, what was different about this economic downturn that the pandemic brought about that was different than prior economic downturns was the national outcry that came about.

And so people started talking about the wealth gap in a way that, perhaps, they hadn't talked about before. So I think that was the silver lining, if you could say there was a silver lining-- a silver lining in all of this is that it really elevated the conversation around the wealth gap. It really put government, what are you going to do? What kind of policies are you going to change? What type of dollars are you going to infuse into the ecosystem?

Corporate America, what are you going to do? How are you going to address the racial wealth gap? Now it's time for accountability on all of that. But it really raised alarms. But the pandemic exasperated what was already there and what we already knew.

WILLIAM DARITY: So the financial impact of COVID-19 on the racial wealth gap is something that we don't have a very direct measure of yet, because the Survey of Consumer Finances, which is our gold standard source of information about wealth differentials, is administered by the Fed every three years. And we will not have the results of the 2022 survey until fall 2023.

So all we have is the information from the 2019 survey, which took place before the pandemic actually hit. However, Damon has done a significant amount of work with what's available to try to assess what the consequences have been of the pandemic on racial wealth differences. So I think we should turn to him.

SPEAKER 1: Perfect.

DAMON JONES: Well, thanks for that generous characterization. I will say that I agree that some of the best data is yet to come out. The two data sets that I would say that we could look at in the meantime-- actually, the Board of Federal Reserve Board of Governors, they put out something called the distribution of financial accounts.

And that's basically a way to try to estimate how wealth is accumulating across different groups at a higher frequency-- so in between the time when we get the Survey of Consumer Finance. And then there's another website, Real Time Inequality, which is another group of economists that are using similar methods to try to follow how wealth is evolving over time for different groups.

The two things I would say that maybe jump out about the pandemic is that the first part of the pandemic until the end of 2021-- if you follow stock markets, they were doing actually pretty well. And so there was wealth growth for a number of different households. It disproportionately accrued to the top wealth households.

We probably would expect that that would widen the racial gaps. And then if you've also been following stock markets in 2022, there's been a different pattern for certain types of investments. That has actually kind of brought wealth down for some people's balance sheets, and disproportionately for the highest income households.

So those two things have brought us almost back, in terms of wealth concentration, to a little bit where we were at the beginning of the pandemic. So there were kind of like two chapters to that. And those two data sets I mentioned I think could also help us look across different racial groups. But like Dr. Darity said, when the Survey of Consumer Finance comes out, we'll hopefully be able to look at that in a little more detail.

ANDRE PERRY: Can I just add one interesting dynamic that occurred during the first few quarters of the pandemic? We did see a small increase among homeowners-- the one group that showed a increase in the home ownership rate was with millennials. And certainly, people will point to the savings that all people could have.

But it did seem that that small rise in home ownership went alongside the freezing of student loans. And it was interesting because for me, it showed potentially what could be done if people either both received relief and assets. Because in that instance, your income to debt ratio effectively changed with the freezing of student loans.

And we did see a small increase. Millennials did buy homes. And so for me, that's just a very small outcome. I don't want to make too much of it. But it did show what could potentially happen as a solution in this regard-- that if we provide people with equity and an opportunity, that they'll take advantage of it to improve their situation.

WILLIAM DARITY: So I think it's important to distinguish between policies that will enhance well-being and welfare for families and households versus policies that have an effect on the racial wealth gap. So we can pursue any number of policies that would be highly desirable that would be beneficial to a wide range of Americans and policies that we should enact, including student loan debt cancelation-- but they'll have very little effect on the racial wealth difference, which means that they'll have very little effect on the relative opportunity and security that Black households have in comparison with white households.

So if you have a program of freezing debt payments for all Americans, then all Americans will have a benefit. But it will not have a significant effect on the difference in wealth between Blacks and whites.

SPEAKER 2: I want to talk some more about those type of policies. But first, the presentations that we saw laid out what the historical problems have been. And, Nicole, you put it well when you said these are self-perpetuating policies. And the past shapes our present.

But I want to know, what contemporary policies that are happening now do you think perpetuate the racial wealth gap? Let's start with you, Nicole.

NICOLE ELAM: Yeah, I think there are so many policies that perpetuate it. I think need to look at wraparound services, and child welfare credits, things of that nature. But even if you were to look just at home ownership-- what are appraisal gaps like? That's something that you have to take a look at.

Underwriting standards-- we know that there are so many Black and Brown people that are credit invisibles. And the way that we think about underwriting and using credit scores is outdated. We know that most Black and Brown people, because of the redlining and all of these different things that we've talked about today, don't have mortgages, but yet they have consistent rent payments.

And why is that not being used for underwriting standards? So I think those are some of the things that we need to take a look at. And the education system-- how education systems are being funded is something that you have to take a look at. So incentives-- all of these incentive programs that are going to rebuild disinvested and underinvested communities oftentimes are programs that lead to gentrification.

So we have to take a look at those types of programs. So there are so many different policies that we need to take a look at and make tweaks that are barriers that oftentimes, people don't think of as barriers but are truly barriers. Small business, right? As you think about the small business program, SBA, when you think about their signature programs, they only have a 3% uptick in African-American small business borrowers and 6% and Hispanic borrowers.

Why is that? There are so many barriers in that program. SBA hasn't evolved, right? A lot of their grant programs and things are focused on brick and mortar. But we know that we're now moving to a e-commerce small business. So again, so many policies that I think are contributing to exasperating the wealth gap.

ANDRE PERRY: And I'll just double down on the appraisal issue, because it's past and present. While we eliminated a lot of the explicit racist language from housing policy with the Fair Housing Act, some of the basic practices are still in play-- the price comparison model, for instance, which is the practice of to establish value compare one home to another, in a neighborhood still exists. It's still the primary way we value homes.

The reason why that's fraught is that if you compare one home to another in a neighborhood that's been discriminated against, you effectively recycle discrimination over and over again. You never get out of it. We still have policies in terms of single family zoning that exacerbate existing inequalities.

And so I don't know if the past is prologue is the right term in this regard, but much of the policies of the past still exist. And so for me, it's not something that is present or passive, they've always existed.

DAMON JONES: Just to piggyback off of what Dr. Darity said, in terms of current policies, we have relatively low tax rates on the let's pass through generations bequests and inheritances. And so the way things work, you can build your capital income and nearly escape taxation completely by structuring it in a way that it turns into wealth that you pass on at death.

And so I think there's a opportunity there for some sort of redistribution at the beginning of one's life through taxing those types of bequests and inheritances. And I think that that's a policy that could give people more opportunities at younger ages.

So that's one policy, the taxation that we have, and then the transfers that we give to children when they're young as well is, I think, another important area. Something like, for example, the type of expansion of the child tax credit that we had during the last year, during 2021, one way to think about it is it's the sort of guaranteed amount of income for children. And the research shows that that has a lot of downstream impacts on people's lives in the long-term-- the resources that their families have when they are children.

WILLIAM DARITY: I don't really have anything to add. I would reemphasize Damon's point about looking carefully at the tax system as a mechanism that reinforces racial wealth differences. And there's an excellent book by Dorothy Brown called the Whiteness of Wealth that just came out where she examines the discriminatory effects of the tax system on differences in resources between Black and white households.

NATALIE MOORE: I'd like to co-sign reading that book. It is excellent in lays all this out very plainly. We're at the Federal Reserve. So I need to ask, what role can they play in mitigating the racial wealth gap? Maybe the first question is, do you think they can? And if so, what is that?

DAMON JONES: Well, I'll take a stab at this. And my answer is going to be not too deep. But I think that there is a role to play, and we should definitely think about the main types of policies that the Fed engages in and how they affect the racial wealth gap. And here, I think understanding the relationship between monetary policy and the racial wealth gap is a complicated thing.

And so I'm going to admit that my read of the evidence is that there are theoretical questions that, empirically, we still need more to answer. But two things-- monetary policy can help make the labor market basically more, we say tighter labor market, or put workers in a better position to find jobs and reach what we call full employment. And the tighter that labor market is, we tend to think that that's going to close some of those gaps in labor market outcomes between racial groups. And the Black white gap and, for example, the unemployment rate and those things when the labor market is the tightest, the gaps tend to be smaller.

So the income that people can get, which does have an impact on the wealth that you can accumulate. On the other side, the other thing that policy does is it could lead to assets appreciating at a higher rate. And there, the net effect on the racial wealth gap may be unclear. So if you have two groups and one group has the certain type of assets that benefit the most from that policy, then the effect on the racial wealth gap could be that it widens.

Assets are appreciating and one group starts off with more assets. I think what that tells me is that the Fed cannot solve these problems alone. If there is existing wealth gaps and there's policies that lead to better returns to the assets that people have, then it becomes tricky. But I think those are some of the--

WILLIAM DARITY: That's when the Fed that's when the Fed is pursuing an expansionary monetary policy. Can you comment on what happens when the Fed is pursuing a contractionary policy or a non-accommodative policy, like it is in the present moment trying to tackle inflation?

DAMON JONES: Well, I won't make a precise statement about the causal effects. But those things would tend to work maybe in opposite direction, in the sense that the labor market becomes less tight, unemployment deepens, and that tends to be a bigger problem for Black workers in the labor market historically speaking. And so that's going to go in the opposite direction.

And then if that causes assets to appreciate less, that could also go in the opposite direction. But these are simple first order effects. And so I definitely wouldn't say, pursue a contractionary policy to close the racial wealth gap by sending us into a recession or something like that.

WILLIAM DARITY: No, no. I just think Fed policy probably doesn't have much of a direct effect on the wealth gap. I think as long as the capacity of one group to transfer resources to their progeny far exceeds the capacity of another group to do so, and since there are almost multiplicative effects associated with additional amounts of wealth, we're not going to get anywhere through any sort of incremental policy or policies pursued by the Fed towards closing the gap.

And I guess all of you know that I'm a fervent advocate of reparations for Black American descendants of us slavery, and that is primarily because I think that that's the only way in which you can eliminate the racial wealth gap is by eliminating the racial wealth gap-- that is by making payments of a sufficient magnitude to eligible Black American recipients so that their level of average wealth will be equivalent to the average level of wealth of white Americans.

NATALIE MOORE: Sandy, earlier you said that there are policies that could enhance everyone-- families, different people in this country. And then there are ones that specifically address the racial wealth gap. Do you think that those policies that could enhance everyone should just go toward people who are victims of the racial wealth gap? Or do you see this as policies that enhance all, and then reparations is the other policy?

WILLIAM DARITY: So I see these policies as potentially being complementary universal policies to enhance well-being across the entire population, or a policy of reparations which is intended to meet a debt that is owed to Black American descendants of US slavery and unmet debt. And the debt was first instantiated at the end of the Civil War when the United States government failed to meet its promise of providing the formerly enslaved with the 40-acre land grants. So one set of policies for the purposes of enhancing well-being across all of the population and the policy of reparations is a justice claim for an unpaid debt.

NICOLE ELAM: I think one thing that we have to become more comfortable with as a country is that if we want to address racial equity, then we have to address race head on. And you saw a lot of this when the pandemic happened, right? The government was coming out with various programs and policies that they wanted to target Black and Brown communities, because they were the hardest hit by the pandemic.

But what you found is that they didn't want to use race as the proxy for a variety of different reasons-- legal or otherwise. They didn't want to use race as the proxy. And so you're trying to address a race issue without tackling race. And I think that gets you in a very precarious position.

And so I think we just have to become more comfortable at if we want to address racial equity, then we have to address race. And so we have to be more forthright about that in our policies. I think the other thing is that it takes more than just one, right? It's going to take more than just Fed, but you need everybody at the table.

You need public, private at the table. You need the White House. You need the administration. You need the Hill. You need all of these agencies all at the table trying to come up with solutions. But you also need corporate. You need nonprofit.

You need all of these different players at the table contributing in some way, shape, or form. So it's not just one person. You need everybody working together, whatever expertise that they bring to the table on policies, programs, and dollars to help solve this problem.

NATALIE MOORE: For those who don't know me, which I think is most people in the audience, I am a local reporter here in Chicago covering issues around housing, segregation, racial inequality. And sometimes I'm asked, so what needs to be done? And I think people are looking for an easy 10-point plan.

And I often say that a lot of this work is just not sexy. Currently, there is, and it hasn't gotten much coverage, there's a really important ordinance in Chicago City Council that has to do with zoning that wouldn't allow our city council members to block affordable housing. It's creating a process where you just can't tear down a two flat or a three flat and turn it into a single family home.

Another one is getting rid of the ban that says you can't build new two flats or three flats near transit stops. So again, these aren't the things that people are rallying around. But there are dozens of policies like this just in Chicago that would make a difference.

And what other national, state, or local policies are on your radar or would you suggest that would help? Again, I know that it's not just one thing, but just policies that could decrease or eliminate the racial wealth gap? We know, Sandy, where you stand on reparations. But anything else?

ANDRE PERRY: Well, there are so many different things. And again, I don't want to say that housing is any kind of cure all. But I use it as an example of the radical changes that we need to make in order to close the wealth gap. The way we measure credit worthiness is fundamentally flawed. We need new ways to measure creditworthiness. And it's not a small undertaking.

Actually, Fannie Mae just announced that they will be using rent payments and other bill payments as a form of credit worthiness. We also need new mortgage products. Banks will not back mortgages that are below a certain amount.

And there are actually homes in many Black neighborhoods that renters should qualify for if there were mortgage products that matched those conditions. In addition, if we are not serious about providing people with significant down payment assistance, well, I should say Black people who've been discriminated whose grandfathers and great grandfathers were not afforded the same opportunities to own a home. If we're not giving them the kind of payment assistance or current buyers down payment assistance, we're not being serious about improving the home ownership rates and asset acquisition in that regard.

So homeownership is not the be all end all, though we make it seem as such. But if we wanted to increase homeownership rates, we could. But do we have the people who are willing to make the policy changes? And if there is one thing as to what the Fed can do, I'm always optimistic when you have people in place who are willing to take race on, who are open to have the imagination to change policy radically.

Then, you can actually get to solutions. But when we're talking about institutions and incremental change, if you consistently use the same tools, you will not get very far. But for me, I do leave hope for many institutions to open the door to people who have the will and the imagination to make the kind of policy changes that can help close the gap.

WILLIAM DARITY: I think that one of the big issues is how we actually measure the gap. I think we need to have an accurate measure of how large the gap is. And then and only then can we actually assess what the impact these separate policies or policies taken together will have on the racial wealth gap.

And I've been somewhat emphatic that if we're talking about the racial wealth disparity, we have to measure it at the mean rather than the median. Customarily, people think about using the median because it's a comparison that's made by the households that are at the middle of the distribution. And so people think that that's more representative of the typical experience of most households.

But I'm going to argue that in the context of thinking about the racial wealth gap, we should be using what we conventionally think of as the average or the median to gauge the gap. And there are three reasons. The first is 97% of white wealth is held by households that are above the white median.

So if you cut off the white distribution of wealth at the middle, 97% of the wealth is under the ownership of households of the upper 50% of the distribution. And this isn't simply because we have a handful of white billionaires, although we do. But the second reason is 25% of white households have a net worth in excess of $1 million.

And this is true for only 4% of Black households. And moreover, Blacks and whites who are in an equivalent social class have very, very different levels of wealth. So Black heads of households with a college degree actually have a lower net worth than white heads of households who never finished high school.

Black professionals have less wealth than whites in the working class and whites in the lowest quintile of the income distribution of a higher median net worth than all Black Americans taken together. So the challenge I would like to pose for all of us as a nation is to ask, what is the impact on the racial wealth gap measured at the mean of any of these particular policies that people are talking about? And so the reason I revert to the reparations plan is because I'm not convinced that any of these other incremental policies taken individually or taken collectively can actually cure the problem of the racial wealth disparity.

NATALIE MOORE: It is time for audience questions. And I see one currently in the chat. I don't know if others are going to be sent to me. But this one is, beyond housing and home ownership, does anyone believe that the $10 billion state small business credit initiative 2.0, I think there is a word missing, will have an impact on the wealth gap?

NICOLE ELAM: Yeah, I would say that when you think about the key drivers of wealth creation-- and, again, I'm coming at it from a banking perspective representing the minority depository institutions-- there are three key drivers. First is access to banking services. It's really hard to grow wealth if you don't have access to banking services.

Two is home ownership and third is owning a profitable small business. And so the state small business credit initiative program I do think is key and central to being able to create wealth within the Black community. What is interesting about SSBCI 2.0 versus 1.0 is that it does have a focus on socially disadvantaged businesses.

So it is focused on minority businesses and making sure that they get the capital that they need. The interesting thing is that each state can implement it in different ways. Some states are utilizing minority depository institutions, which have been the center of wealth creation in Black and Brown communities since before they were told no by white financial institutions.

So some of them are utilizing MDIs. Some of them are utilizing community development financial institutions. But the key is that most of them are trying to find ways to identify and utilize community lenders to get that capital out there. So I do think that small businesses and programs like that is important, because it does play into helping to create wealth.

WILLIAM DARITY: So I'm going to respectfully disagree a bit. I certainly think that these types of programs can have a benefit. But I don't think they will have much of an effect on the racial wealth gap, which is now estimated to be approximately $841,000 per household-- so close to $1,000,000 differential in the average level of wealth between a Black and white household.

But the total asset holdings of all Black-owned banks is less than $5 billion. And the total assets held by JPMorgan Chase alone is in excess of $3 trillion. So if we're talking about a kick-in of approximately $10 billion in some way in which it diffuses through the system, yes, it can have the effect of increasing the presence of a number of Black small businesses, but it's not going to go very far towards bridging a gap that is that enormous. In fact, the 250th-ranked white-owned bank actually has more assets than all of the 21 Black-owned banks combined.

NICOLE ELAM: Which I think it speaks to why it's so important to make sure that these banks are well capitalized, right? When you think about the history of these banks and how they've been so central to making sure that Black households--

WILLIAM DARITY: I absolutely agree with that. But all I'm saying is that while--

NICOLE ELAM: I agree with your point. Yeah. Yeah. $10 billion is a drop in the bucket, absolutely. But to the larger point of how important it is to make sure that these banks are capitalized, and to make sure all of the institutions that are providing support to Black and Brown households are well capitalized and have what they need is certainly important.

WILLIAM DARITY: That gets back to the point that I made about differentiating between welfare improving policies and policies that close the racial wealth gap. And this would be a welfare improvement policy.

ANDRE PERRY: Now, I just want to throw another stat out there that one also shows why we should use the mean, but also to show the interconnectedness of business development and property ownership. The top 1% of households own 81% of non-residential commercial real estate. I'm going to repeat that-- the top 1% of households own 81% of non-residential commercial real estate.

We just put out a report today that looked at the enormous lack of distribution of that ownership class. And that's compared to the top 1% in terms of owner occupied housing is only 16%. But I bring that up because when we talk about business development, a missing component of that-- we don't own the properties we operate in.

And also, we don't have control of the commercial corridors and other aspects. So we do need to scale up businesses. And we need to scale up commercial property ownership. And we need to scale up homeownership. And we need to eliminate that. And we need reparations.

All of these things-- not any one thing is going to close a racial wealth gap. But when we see the interconnectedness of these issues, that's when we can begin to mobilize to make change.

NATALIE MOORE: Just have a couple more minutes, and I don't see any other questions. But I think, Nicole, you said this earlier, that the conversation has been elevated around the racial wealth gap. And I would like to hear from each of you-- do you find that your work is getting, I wouldn't say easier is the word, but that it is gaining a larger audience or that your ideas are being heard by those who need to hear them?

ANDRE PERRY: Oh, OK, I'll go. There is no question that the work over the last 30 years on the racial wealth gap has made my work so much easier. We've been talking about reparations since 40 acres and a mule.

And over the last 30 years, we've seen an increase in the people who agree reparations should be enacted. The racial uprisings of 2020 helped elevate my work on housing devaluation without question. And so I think, for me, there has been the work of Sandy, Damon, Nicole, Kristen-- it's having a cumulative effect.

And I also just want to say this little bit of advice-- I think our work today may not bear fruit tomorrow. But it may bear fruit 30 years from now. But because so much of the gains that I've made personally--

WILLIAM DARITY: The rest of you will still be here 30 years from now.

NICOLE ELAM: Your legacy will live on.

WILLIAM DARITY: That's right. That's the dream.

ANDRE PERRY: But the point is sometimes we think that our work is going to have an immediate return. And I've seen the benefit of people doing this work 30 years ago. I think our work is getting traction now, but we're really not going to see the fruit of that labor til a little bit. I'm going to say 10 years for Sandy Darity-- 10 years, not 30 years.

NICOLE ELAM: I would certainly agree. The work has been elevated. It's a moment in time. And for me, what I've been thinking about, particularly with other coalition partners, is, how do we maximize this moment to create systemic change, right? So everything is always about the moment.

People didn't pay attention to this until x happened, right? And so how do we utilize this moment to create systemic changes and policy changes? And so that's what we're really trying to push on. Don't just write a check. What are you doing within your business, within your nonprofit, within your x, y, z to change the way that you're doing something.

So that's what we've really been trying to push for. What systemic changes can you make that go beyond writing a check, that go beyond this initiative that you may not be interested in next year or two years from now? What kind of systemic policy changes can we make from a public policy perspective, but also within your organization?

Big bank, how are you going to finance and do things different? Nonprofit, how are you going to focus on this differently? Who are you going to now bank with, right? All of these types of things are questions that we're now challenging people in this moment.

WILLIAM DARITY: Yeah, I think that's an excellent point. The idea of getting your own house in order is critical. I just want to reinforce what Andre said by providing some additional numbers.

At the beginning of this millennium in the year 2000, there was a survey that was conducted by Michael Dawson and Nirvana Popov at the University of Chicago. And at that point, they found that 4% of white Americans endorsed monetary payments as reparations for Black Americans-- that's F-O-U-R. By the year 2018, that percentage had risen to about 15%.

And today, surveys indicate that it's closer to 30%. So it's still not in the vicinity of the 45% to 50% that would make this something that would be likely to be enacted by Congress, but certainly a heck of a lot better than 4%. So there has been a change in attitude and a greater degree of receptiveness to these ideas.

NATALIE MOORE: I'm just now seeing-- go ahead.

DAMON JONES: Sorry. I was just going to add-- in the field of economics, I'm seeing much more research focused on questions of race, racial inequality. And so I think one of the things is that there are people like Dr. Darity who have been doing this research for a long time. And it's reassuring that there's much more activity in this research area. And I think it's going to be even more beneficial if people make sure to take stock of the work that wasn't given the proper attention in the past that we'll be able to advance these questions more quickly if we're not recreating the wheel or reinventing the wheel.

A lot of these topics have been pored over in economics and in other fields. And so in the field of economics, I think the more we do our homework on what has already been done on these questions of race, the better the current burgeoning work will be by learning from what was previously not given as much attention.

ANDRE PERRY: And I want to give special shout out to all the journalists, including you, Natalie, who've done incredible work pushing academics, and think tankers, and others on this-- Ta-Nehisi Coates, your work, Oscar Obuelo, and others who are really tackling this on, popularizing it, so to speak. So shout out to all the journalists out there.

NATALIE MOORE: Thank you. We appreciate that. And we appreciate you all explaining and taking our phone calls. Before I turn it over to Kristen, two quick things-- someone asked the name of the book, it was the Whiteness of Wealth by Dorothy Brown. And, Andre, that paper that you mentioned, where can people find that? Suddenly, we can't hear you.

ANDRE PERRY: Oh, I'm sorry. It's the Devaluation of Assets in Black Neighborhoods-- the Case of Commercial Property-- just was released actually like 20 minutes before this panel started. The Case of Commercial Property.

NATALIE MOORE: Great. Thank you. And, Kristen, I'm turning it over to you.

KRISTEN BROADY: Natalie, thank you. Dr. Darity, Ms. Elam, Dr. Perry, and Dr. Jones, I would like to thank all of you for joining us for this spirited discussion. I really appreciate it. And I hope that our audience learned a lot from it.

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