Why are some people rich and others poor? Answering this elusive question has been the lifelong work of economist William (Sandy) Darity. Darity was an observant child, and from an early age he picked up on how wealth disparities divide communities.
While his family was living abroad, he noticed that an Egyptian beach he was visiting looked different at various points along the coast based on which communities had access to it. He noticed similar distinctions while spending time in his grandmother’s hometown of Wilson, North Carolina, where black and white communities were divided by railroad tracks that ran through the town.
Darity studied economics at MIT and the London School of Economics and Political Science, and later pioneered the subfield of stratification economics, an interdisciplinary approach to understanding economic inequality. It looks at how structures and policies, rather than individual behavior, impact the wealth of different subgroups. Host Frank Stasio talks with Darity, director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University, about his life and work.
Read more about his work:
- "How Barack Obama Failed Black Americans"
- "A Guaranteed Federal Jobs Program Is Needed"
- "Here's What Economists Don't Understand About Race"
Watch a profile of William (Sandy) Darity: