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Wealth Disparities Before and After the Great Recession

Publication Abstract

Pfeffer, Fabian T., Sheldon H. Danziger, and Robert F. Schoeni. 2013. "Wealth Disparities Before and After the Great Recession." Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 650(1): 98-123.

The collapse of the labor, housing, and stock markets beginning in 2007 created unprecedented challenges for American families. This study examines disparities in wealth holdings leading up to the Great Recession and during the first years of the recovery. All socioeconomic groups experienced declines in wealth following the recession, with higher wealth families experiencing larger absolute declines. In percentage terms, however, the declines were greater for less advantaged groups as measured by minority status, education, and prerecession income and wealth, leading to a substantial rise in wealth inequality in just a few years. Despite large changes in wealth, longitudinal analyses demonstrate little change in mobility in the ranking of particular families in the wealth distribution. Between 2007 and 2011, one-fourth of American families lost at least 75 percent of their wealth, and more than half of all families lost at least 25 percent of their wealth. Multivariate longitudinal analyses document that these large relative losses were disproportionally concentrated among lower-income, less educated, and minority households.

DOI:10.1177/0002716213497452 (Full Text)

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