Black-White Achievement Gap and Family Wealth.

January 2007

W. Jean Yeung, New York University and Dalton Conley, New York University.

Download 'working_paper07-02.pdf'.


This paper examines the extent to which family wealth affects the race-child achievement association for young children based on data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. We found little evidence that wealth mediates the black-white test scores gap. However, liquid assets, particularly holding in stocks and mutual funds, are positively associated with schoolaged children’s test scores. We speculate that this may partly reflect unmeasured personality
traits of the parents such as a stronger future orientation or the financial savvy. We also found that the association was mediated through both material deprivation and family processes pathways. We made an attempt to strengthen the causal inference between wealth and children’s test scores with the instrumental variable approach, the results were nevertheless inconclusive.

Educational Attainment, Race and Ethnicity