The observed racial/ethnic gap in bank account ownership among older adults is substantial. We investigate socio-economic, cognitive and cultural barriers underling it. As additional potential barriers are accounted for, the residual gaps in financial inclusion with respect to Whites is reduced by 19 percent for Blacks and 46 percent for Hispanics. We find that citizenship and “taste for privacy” play a limited role for both minority groups, while real asset ownership, health, cognitive ability and cultural hurdles contribute substantially to the gap. For Hispanics, language barriers explain most of the gap, while neighborhood-level socioeconomic characteristics are more salient for Blacks. We also examine how the racial/ethnic composition of couples influences financial decisions. We estimate a significantly smaller residual gap between “mixed” and White couples than between minority and White couples. We provide empirical evidence suggesting that, other things equal, mixed couples are less concerned with the cultural/psychological barriers facing minority couples.
Blanco, Luisa; Angrisani, Marco; Aguila, Emma; and Leng, Mei, "Understanding the Racial/Ethnic Gap in Bank Account Ownership among Older Adults" (2018). Pepperdine University, School of Public Policy Working Papers. Paper 72.