Date of Award

Spring 2017


M. S. in Economic Theory and Policy


Fernando Rios-Avila, Ph.D.


The Intersection of several axes of inequality characterize the nature of differential access to assets and debts and varying ability to accumulate wealth at quantifiably discernable “social locations.” In the United States, there exists sizeable gaps in wealth accumulation between single-headed male and female households, as well as between households of different racial/ethnic groups, but the application of Patricia Hill Collins’s Matrix of Domination to the economic analysis of inequality nuances measurable disparities by the intersection of race and gender. In a two-stage methodology using data from the 2010 and 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), this thesis aims to first, assess multiplicative and simultaneous gendered and racialized differences in wealth accumulation employing the concept of wealth poverty. Six-month wealth poverty lines were constructed based on a transformation of the Census Bureau’s income poverty thresholds. Multivariate models are used to estimate the likelihood of placement in three categories of wealth poverty: Dis-Accumulation, Mal-Accumulation, and Sufficient Accumulation. Second, the likelihoods of access to assets and debts categorized by the Levy Institute Measure of Economic Well-being (LIMEW) are estimated using Logistic regressions. The findings of this thesis suggest that while all households are more likely to be wealth poor than white male single-headed households, black and Hispanic female-headed households are those most likely to experience the greatest depths of wealth poverty, with debt burdens that typically outweigh their asset holdings. Additive models do not properly assess the premiums and penalties associated with respective racial/ethnic and gendered positioning in relation to white male headed households. Additionally, both multiple jeopardy and racially marginalized households are less likely than white male single-headed households to have wealth escalating assets, such as home equity, real estate and business related assets, and stocks, bonds, and other financial assets, but black female-headed households are interestingly more likely to save for retirement than white male single-households. Black and Hispanic-headed female households- per multiple jeopardy- are most likely to have non-productive debt such as credit card debt in relation to white male-headed households. Hispanic-headed households of either gender are far less likely to have productive debt such as housing debt and the least likely to have received an inheritance compared to white male-headed households.

Access Control

Open Access