Mon, 05/13/2019

Call for Articles: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences

ISSUE ON: "Wealth Inequality and Child Development: New Evidence for Policy and Practice"

Editors: Christina Gibson-Davis, Duke University, and Heather Hill, University of Washington

Wealth inequality—the unequal distribution of assets and debts across a population—has reached historic levels in the United States, particularly for households with children. Among households with a resident child under the age of eighteen, the increase in wealth inequality has outpaced the rise in income inequality, and such households have higher levels of wealth inequality than other household types.

Wealth inequality has multiple repercussions for the well-being of young adults, insofar as disparities in wealth increase gaps in college attendance and completion, and levels of wealth affect early adult decisions regarding marriage and fertility. Wealth is positively associated with standardized test scores for children of all ages, and wealth inequality, measured at the national level, may also negatively impact adolescent mental and physical health. The importance of wealth, however, is likely not confined to children at the cusp of adulthood or to the cognitive domain, but may operate throughout childhood in multiple domains to affect future life chances. Parental wealth could promote child well-being through multiple mechanisms, including investments in stable housing or safe neighborhoods, access to cultural capital, and the peace of mind associated with having insurance against a future job loss or health crisis. In addition, disparities in parental wealth may also influence parenting behaviors and practices and choices parents make about union formation and stability.

Outside of handful of studies on test scores, research on wealth has paid little attention to outcomes for children before they reach the age of eighteen. Moreover, scholars have rarely examined how and why trends in wealth inequality differ for child households vis-a-vis other household types. In contrast, the literature on income inequality, and its repercussions for family functioning and child well-being, is well-developed, and encompasses many areas overlooked by studies of wealth inequality.

To stimulate the academic and policy conversation on wealth inequality, this volume will examine the contours and consequences of wealth inequality for child households and for child outcomes. Our issue will feature original theoretical and empirical work that builds our understanding of the implications of wealth inequality for child development and offers insights into the most promising policies and programs to reduce wealth inequality and its potentially far-reaching effects.

Please click here for a full description of the topics covered in this call for articles.

Anticipated Timeline

Prospective contributors should submit a CV and an abstract (up to two pages in length, single or double spaced) of their study along with up to two pages of supporting material (e.g., tables, figures, pictures, etc.) no later than 5:00 pm EST on June 24, 2019 to

NOTE that if you wish to submit an abstract and do not yet have an account with us, it can take up to 48 hours to get credentials, so please start your application at least two days before the deadline. All submissions must be original work that has not been previously published in part or in full. Only abstracts submitted to will be considered. Each paper will receive a $1,000 honorarium when the issue is published. All questions regarding this issue should be directed to Suzanne Nichols, Director of Publications, at and not to the email addresses of the editors of the issue.

A conference will take place at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York City on February 21, 2020 (with a group dinner the night before). The selected contributors will gather for a one-day workshop to present draft papers (due a month prior to the conference on 1/21/20) and receive feedback from the other contributors and editors. Travel costs, food, and lodging for one author per paper will be covered by the foundation. Papers will be circulated before the conference. After the conference, the authors will submit their revised drafts by 4/20/20. The papers will then be sent out to three additional scholars for formal peer review. Having received feedback from reviewers and the RSF board, authors will revise their papers by 9/2/20. The full and final issue will be published in the summer of 2021. Papers will be published open access on the RSF website as well as in several digital repositories, including JSTOR and UPCC/Muse.

Please click here for a full description of the topics covered in this call for articles.