Strength in Differences: How Racial Integration Shapes Household Financial Decision-Making
Best Paper Presentation at Miami Business School Interdisciplinary Research Symposium (2019)
Using proprietary geocoded data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, I examine whether local racial integration influences financial decision-making. I find that individuals residing in racially integrated communities are more likely to invest in public equity markets after accounting for individual and county-level differences. Exploiting within-individual variation from relocation as well as using Great Migration population shocks as an instrument, I demonstrate that integration has a causal effect on participation. Evidence suggests that racial integration improves local information quality, lowering informational barriers to participation. Moreover, this informational advantage enables integrated investors to achieve superior risk-adjusted performance on their local portfolios.
Falling Behind: Asymmetric Impacts of Economic Cycles on Minority Household Finances
This paper investigates whether economic cycles have asymmetric effects on household wealth. Examining differences in balance sheet positions across demographic groups, I find that Black households are more likely to experience a loss in net worth relative to White households. This loss is driven by a reduction in business wealth and an increase in mortgage debt and installment loans over the course of the Great Recession. These findings cannot be explained by individual characteristics such as income, education and industry of occupation. Over the recovery period, Black households were more likely to increase positions in public equity, however positive effects on net worth were neutralized by increases in consumer debt. Overall, the asymmetric effects across demographics present a potential explanation for the persistence of racial wealth inequality.