So what do the authors conclude?
The black-white gap is almost entirely among men. On a wide variety of measures—wages, college education, etc.—black and white women have similar levels of intergenerational mobility.
Among families with similar incomes, family characteristics such as marital status, education, and wealth explain very little of the black-white income gap.
The same is true for differences in ability.
The gap is mostly environmental:
Boys who grow up in certain neighborhoods—those with low poverty rates, low levels of racial bias among whites, and high rates of father presence among low-income blacks—show much smaller gaps. Black boys who move to such areas at younger ages have significantly better outcomes, demonstrating that racial disparities can be narrowed through changes in environment.
As a result of this research, the authors suggest that interventions aimed at improving the conditions of a single generation won’t be very effective. The same is true of policies that focus on reducing patterns of residential segregation. The key is achieving racial integration within neighborhoods:
Madison’s long-term, disastrous reading results.