Asset Building Financial Inclusion Working Paper

The Human Capital Agenda: Asset Holding and Educational Attainment Among African-American Youth

This study extends previous analyses in several ways. First, in addition to parental wealth, the relationship between children’s wealth and math and reading scores are examined. Second, we examine different mediating pathways that wealth may affect children’s math and reading scores in a single path analysis model. The advantage of path analysis over traditional regression analyses, which are typically used in this area, is that researchers can get a glimpse of relationships among variables. While the focus of regression analysis is on the associations of predictors with outcome variables, path analysis provides a larger picture of the overall structure of relationships among variables in predicting the outcome variable. Furthermore, mediation can be tested more easily and extensively in path analysis compared to regression. Third, we examine whether different forms of wealth (net worth, homeownership, and children’s savings for school) have different effects. Forth, we examine whether wealth (parental and/or children’s) effects vary across racial groups. This paper was presented during Child Development Accounts: Research and Policy Symposium, a November 2008 conference, and was developed for publication in Child Development Accounts: Theory, Evidence, and Policy Potential, a special issue of Children and Youth Services Review. Released in November 2010, the special issue was edited by Michael Sharraden, Youngmi Kim, and Vernon Loke. Subsequent publication: Elliott, W., III, Kim, K., Jung, H., & Zhan, M. (2010). Asset holding and educational attainment among African American youth. Children & Youth Services Review, 32(11), 1497–1507. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2010.03.019

Project: SEED National Initiative


Elliott, W., III, Kim, K., Jung, H., & Zhan, M. (2009). The human capital agenda: Asset holding and educational attainment among African American youth (CSD Working Paper No. 09-46). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.