Black Economics 101: A Reader

The Top News, Magazine, and Scholarly Articles in Black Economics and Business

What is Black Economics ? Black economics is the study of the economic and political behavior of Blacks in the United States and around the world. Black Economics covers business activities, wealth, income, spending and saving of Black people. It includes activities in housing, jobs, earnings, spending patterns, education, entertainment, sports, criminal justice, discrimination, political power, unions, government policies and social programs. Black economics also includes social science topic like human behavior, consumer behavior, success, happiness, history, culture, social capital and legacy.

This list is a collection of the top articles on the current and historical Black economic situation. It covers the major events in Black economic development US. The position of US Blacks is unique and followed around the world. Black are an inspiration to people around the world. We look at the history, the current status and future economic prospects of Black people. The articles and blog are meant to encourage basic economic literacy, not financial literacy. Knowledge beyond personal finance. Not just what happened but why it happened. And what might happen in the future.

Black economics covers real economics: inequality, supply and demand, inflations and recessions, unemployment, stratification, income and wealth.

So what is Black economics exactly? Black Economics is the study of how Blacks in the US function within the economic system. How Black people survive, thrive and prosper in a society biased against them. If, you want the truth, you have to work for it.

We wanted to create on place for everyone to quickly find the best resources on Black Economics. So we created a curated collection of articles to get started. Good luck.

Introductory Articles to Read on Black Economics and Business

Overview / Background

  • 5 Facts about Blacks in the US (Pew Research)
  • Income and spending patterns for Black Households (Bureau of Labor Statistics). The US census is the original source for almost all data.
  • The economic state of Black America: What is and what could be (McKinsey)(June 17th,2021) — The all around best review.
  • State of Black America (National Urban League).
  • Black Equity Index (National Urban League).
  • The Economic State of Black America in 2020 (Joint Economic Committee)
  • Examining the Black-white wealth gap (Brookings) – Probably the most cited article.  It is used constantly. Uses the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) from the Federal Reserve.
  • Squeezing the middle class: Income trajectories from 1967 to 2016 (Brookings) – Stephen Rose is one of the top scholars of income inequality.
  • The Case for Reparations (Atlantic) – Ta Nehisi Coates. The article that started it all.
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates Revisits the Case for Reparations (New Yorker) – Some additional comments.
  • Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism on Black Boys (NY Times) — Raj Chetty. Society is completely stacked against Black men and boys.

Black Business

Black Owned Business Statistics (Black Demographics)

Black Entrepreneurs: Small Business Trends 2020 (Guidant Financial)

The Decline of Black Business (Washington Monthly)

Our Black Year – Maggie Anderson (NY Times). Anderson finds out how difficult it is to shop from Black Businesses only.

Five-star reviews, one-star profits: The devaluation of businesses in Black communities (Brookings). Interesting study of black businesses using Yelp review data.

Robert F Smith. Vista Equity Partners. Wikipedia. Vista buys software companies and provide corporate services(Strategy, HR, Legal, etc.) then takes them public. Smith settled tax evasion charges.

Sylvia’s Restaurant. Wikipedia.

Black Economics


1619 Project

Accounting for Slavery: Masters and Management — by Caitlin Rosenthal. Slavery was fundemental to the development of modern capitalism. Modern financial accounting and operational accounting (cost accounting) originated from managing slaves as property. 1619 Project has a shorter article based on the book.


Do Black Politicians Matter? Evidence from Reconstruction by Trevor D Logan

Great Migration / New Deal / WW2

The Warmth of Other Suns: The epic story of America’s great migration by Isabel Wilkerson
An Ambivalent Legacy Black Americans and the Political Economy of the New Deal. Second source is here.

National Negro Business League

Civil Rights Movement

Modern Era


Black Economic Data

Income and spending patterns for Black Households

Famous Black Economists

Sadie Alexander

Nobel Prize Dude Arthur Lewis

Minorities in the Economics Profession

Economics has long had a severe discrimination and racial problem.

How to Increase the Presence and Improve the Experience of “Minorities” in the Economics Profession

William Spriggs open letter to economists

Famous Black Business People

Booker T Washington

Reginald Lewis

Robert F Smith

Jobs / Employment / Unemployment

The truly disadvantaged by William Julius Wilson. The book that started it all. 1987

When work disappears. WJW again. 1996

Living Wage / Minimum Wage

Washington Center for Equitable Growth


Minorities who “Whiten” their resume get more interviews (Harvard Business School)

Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination (American Economic Review) — Famous paper

Inequality in US Society

Systematic Inequality and Economic Opportunity (Center for American Progress) – August 2019.  One of the defining papers on discrimination.

Here’s What Economists Don’t Understand About Race (Institute for New Economic Thinking) — Economists have long ignored discrimination as “inefficent.” yet it persists. There article explains why it continues and how economists can study it. Also features William Darity.

Real Estate, Black Homeownership and Redlining

The great recession hammered home ownership for Blacks with or without college degrees. (Economic Policy Institute)

The Effects of the 1930s HOLC “Redlining” Maps (Chicago Fed) – 2017 / August 2020 Update

Redlining maps from Home Owners Loan Corporation ( – Original redlining maps from HOLC. The maps were commission by the federal government and used by banks to decided where to make loans for home purchases.

The World Economic Forum also has maps that compare the redlining maps to current segregated housing populations (WEF)

Modern Black Economic Thinking

Killer Mike

Boyce Watkins

Dr. Claude Anderson

Michelle Alexander

Michelle Singletary


How the GI Bill Left Out African Americans (Demos)

Some Colleges Have More Students From the Top 1 Percent Than the Bottom 60(NY Times)

African Americans College Majors and Earnings – 2016

Discrimination / Structural Racism / Affirmative Action

Nixon affirmative action plan

Systematic Inequality and Economic Opportunity (Center for American Progress) – August 2019.  One of the defining papers on discrimination.

Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys (NY Times)

Race and Economic Opportunity in the United States: An Intergenerational Perspective (Paper and Research)
Summary: Black Boys face impossible odds in our society.

Detailed Maps Show How Neighborhoods Shape Children for Life (NY Times) Summary: Where you live determines how well you will do

The Opportunity Atlas: Mapping the Childhood Roots of Social Mobility. Summary: Where you live decides how well you will do in life


Off Shoring / Outsourcing

  • In China Shock, David Autor discusses the devastation of out-sourcing manufacturing to China. Tells Summary: Telling us what we knew already; 20 years to late.
  • Outsourcing America by Ron Hira


  • National Academies of Science: The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration. Summary: Immigrants benefit the most from immigration especially professionals. Immigrants complete directly with recent immigrants and high school educated workers depressing wages. Immigration also benefits immigrant employers and upper income people. Immigrants are a small net fiscal drag on the economy but their children are a net plus.
  • Black and White Access to business capital

Corporate America

Technology and High-Technology Companies

Google’s approach to historically Black schools helps explain why there are few Black engineers in Big Tech

<<Place holder for LA times article on discrimination in tech when I find it??

Historical Articles

Kenner report place holder

The Negro Family: The case for national action

Moynihan Report 1965

The Moynihan Report: An Annotated Edition

The Negro Family: The case for national action (Wikipedia)

The Economic Stagnation of the Black Middle Class –US Commission on Civil Rights Briefing

Free economic textbooks

If you want to brush up there a lots of free economic textbooks available

Principles of Economics (OpenStax)

The Economy (Core Econ)

Open textbook library

Other important magazine, news and scholarly articles in Black economics

Black Economic Articles

Bold Policies for Economic Justice

Review of Black Political

Summary: Federal job guarantee and Baby Bonds

Double check this one

The hidden cost of being Black by Thomas Shapiro

The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap by Mehrsa Baradaran


The Roots of the Widening Racial Wealth Gap: Explaining the Black-White Economic Divide (IASP)(Shapiro)


Other important or related sources in Black Economics, Political and History

Michael Porter, “The Competitive Advantage of the Inner City” Harvard Business Review, May-June 1995.

The Urban Development Potential of Black-Owned Businesses by Timothy Bates

Melvin Oliver and Thomas Shapiro, Black Wealth/White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality

G. William Domhoff, “The Ford Foundation in the Inner City: Forging an Alliance with Neighborhood Activists”,

Read Isabel Sawhill, Scott Winship, and Kerry Searle Grannis “Pathways to the Middle Class: Balancing Personal and Public Responsibility”, fix

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