Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion

  1. The relationship between income and net worth in the U.S.A

    Citation

    Rauscher, E. and Elliott, W. (2015). The relationship between income and net worth in the U.S.A: Virtuous cycle for high but not low income households. Journal of Poverty

    Authors

    Rauscher, Emily, Elliott III, William

    Wealth Transfer Journal Article Year 2015

  2. Wealth as security: Growth curve analyses of household income and net worth during a recession

    Building on evidence of increasing inequality with the 2008–2009 recession, we asked whether households experienced different financial trajectories through the recession depending on initial income and net worth. Using growth curve models of households headed by young adults in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we compared the relationship between initial income and net worth and the rate of change of income and net worth from 1989 to 2011 among households with income above and below $50,000. We found different patterns of income change and different relationships among income, net worth, and their rates of change between high- and low-income categories. Results suggest initial wealth helped to stabilize income and wealth changes among higher income households, reducing financial insecurity.

    Citation

    Rauscher, E. and Elliott, W. (2015). Wealth as security: Growth curve analyses of household income and net worth during a recession. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, March.

    Authors

    Rauscher, Emily, Elliott III, William

    Wealth Transfer Journal Article Year 2015

  3. Harnessing Assets to Build an Economic Mobility System: Reimagining the American Welfare System

    Harnessing Assets to Build an Economic Mobility System provides new empirical insights that help to explain what so many Americans intuitively grasp, and what U.S. policy debates so studiously ignore: Upward economic mobility and a chance at financial security are slipping beyond the grasp of many households. This report examines the drivers of mobility by distinguishing between standard of living, which is related to consumption and available income, and economic mobility and wellbeing, which require assets in addition to income and fuel multiplier effects. The former is supported by the consumption-based welfare system, including programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; formerly food stamps), which is designed to help households exit poverty and consume at a level consistent with a near-poverty level. Upward mobility and wellbeing is advanced by an asset-based welfare system, largely made up of tax credits and deductions that helps more advantaged Americans accumulate assets. By highlighting the significance of assets for achieving economic mobility and true wellbeing, this analysis emphasizes the importance of building policy structures capable of helping households generate assets, not just increase income. The report proposes Economic Mobility Accounts—tax-advantaged savings accounts that help Americans of all income levels save and accrue assets across the life course—as a policy structure that may once again make upward mobility accessible to all Americans.

    Citation

    Elliott, W. and Lewis, M. (2014). Harnessing Assets to Build an Economic Mobility System: Reimagining the American Welfare System. Lawrence, KS: Assets and Education Initiative (AEDI).

    Authors

    Elliott III, William, Lewis, Melinda

    Wealth Transfer Executive Summary Year 2014

  4. Harnessing Assets to Build an Economic Mobility System: Reimagining the American Welfare System

    Harnessing Assets to Build an Economic Mobility System provides new empirical insights that help to explain what so many Americans intuitively grasp, and what U.S. policy debates so studiously ignore: Upward economic mobility and a chance at financial security are slipping beyond the grasp of many households. This report examines the drivers of mobility by distinguishing between standard of living, which is related to consumption and available income, and economic mobility and wellbeing, which require assets in addition to income and fuel multiplier effects. The former is supported by the consumption-based welfare system, including programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; formerly food stamps), which is designed to help households exit poverty and consume at a level consistent with a near-poverty level. Upward mobility and wellbeing is advanced by an asset-based welfare system, largely made up of tax credits and deductions that helps more advantaged Americans accumulate assets. By highlighting the significance of assets for achieving economic mobility and true wellbeing, this analysis emphasizes the importance of building policy structures capable of helping households generate assets, not just increase income. The report proposes Economic Mobility Accounts—tax-advantaged savings accounts that help Americans of all income levels save and accrue assets across the life course—as a policy structure that may once again make upward mobility accessible to all Americans.

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    Citation

    Elliott, W. and Lewis, M. (2014). Harnessing Assets to Build an Economic Mobility System: Reimagining the American Welfare System. Lawrence, KS: Assets and Education Initiative (AEDI).

    Authors

    Elliott III, William, Lewis, Melinda

    Wealth Transfer Report Year 2014

  5. Households' net worth accumulation patterns and young adults' financial well-being: Ripple effects of the Great Recession

    We examined households’ dynamic patterns of net worth accumulation between 1999 and 2009 and asked whether these patterns related to the financial health of young adults growing up in those households. Two patterns of net worth emerged—the first remained high and stable and the second experienced a precipitous decline between 2007 and 2009. Young adults who grew up in households with high and stable net worth also experienced the greatest benefit in financial health. Given wealth losses in the wake of the Great Recession and the ripple effects those losses may have had—and may continue to have—on households and their children, policies that stimulate wealth accumulation may be feasible and timely strategies for improving financial health.

    Citation

    Friedline, T., Nam, I., & Loke, V. (2014). Households' net worth accumulation patterns and young adults' financial well-being: Ripple effects of the Great Recession? Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 35, 390-410.

    Authors

    Friedline, Terri, Nam, Ilsung, Loke, Vernon

    Wealth Transfer Journal Article Year 2014

  6. The American dream and moving up

    Citation

    Elliott, W. (February, 2014). Op-Ed. The American dream and moving up. Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity.

    Authors

    Elliott III, William

    Wealth Transfer Op-Ed Year 2014

  7. The effect of wealth inequality on higher education outcomes: A critical review.

    American society reflects considerable class immobility, much of which may be explained by the wide gaps in college completion rates between economically advantaged and disadvantaged groups of students. First, we discuss the factors that lead to unequal college completion rates and introduce assets as an explanation often ignored by stratification scholars. We then discuss how a legacy of wealth inequality has led to wealthy students having an advantage at the financial aid bargaining table over low-income and minority students. We conclude by discussing how asset-building policies such as children’s savings accounts offer a potential policy strategy to alter the distributional consequences of the current financial aid system and help level the playing field.

    Citation

    Rauscher, E. and Elliott, W. (2014). The effect of wealth inequality on higher education outcomes: A critical review. Sociology Mind, 4, 282-297.

    Authors

    Rauscher, Emily, Elliott III, William

    Wealth Transfer Journal Article Year 2014

  8. As I see it – Declaring a new war on poverty

    Citation

    Elliott, W. (November, 2013). Op-Ed. As I see it – Declaring a new war on poverty. Kansas City Star/joco 913.

    Authors

    Elliott III, William

    Wealth Transfer Op-Ed Year 2013

  9. Policies to promote economic stability, asset building, and child development

    This paper makes the case that the pattern low-income families walk into is a present time-oriented or consumption-based welfare system, with attendant incentives and disincentives; in contrast, the pattern higher-income families walk into is future-oriented or asset-based. These two divergent systems do not deliver equitable educational outcomes for children. To ensure that higher education can play an equalizing role in the U.S. economy, the nation needs a better welfare system for the poor, one that builds on the asset-accumulation structures that serve the needs of advantaged families. This new institutional approach would undo the current system of educational advantages for higher-income children over low-income children and, in turn, redress educational inequalities in America. In order to create a level playing field welfare policies are needed that enable low-income families to accumulate assets. In this paper we discuss policies that might help low-income families accumulate assets, including modifications to existing income supports, as well as the development of complementary asset-based institutions.

    Citation

    Lewis, M., Cramer, R., Elliott, W., and Spraque, A. (2013). Policies to promote economic stability, asset building, and child development. Children and Youth Services Review, 36, 15-21.

    Authors

    Lewis, Melinda, Cramer, Reid, Elliott III, William, Sprague, Aleta

    Wealth Transfer Journal Article Year 2013

  10. Probability of living through a period of economic instability

    Welfare Based on Assets, a Way to Smooth Out Economic Instability and Develop Children's Human Capital is a four-part series of reports that focuses on the relationship between economic instability (i.e., income shocks, asset shocks, home loss, and asset poverty) and children's human capital development. Collectively, these reports build on the compelling observation that the pattern low-income families walk into is a present time oriented or consumption based pattern of behavior; in contrast, the pattern higher income families walk into is future oriented or asset based. In this first paper we find that between 2005 and 2009 the probability of a low-income child living through an income shock is between 43% (major shock) and 55% (minor shock). In contrast, the chance of a high-income child experiencing an income shock is between 6% (major shock) and 15% (minor shock) during the same period. We also find that the probability that a child will experience a net worth asset shock close to doubles for a child living in a black or low-incom

    Citation

    Elliott, W., Nam, I., and Friedline, T. (2013). Probability of living through a period of economic instability. Children and Youth Services Review, 35(3), p. 453-460.

    Authors

    Elliott III, William, Nam, Ilsung, Friedline, Terri

    Wealth Transfer Journal Article Year 2013