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Mapping the Fringe Economy: Race, Class, and the Politics of High-Cost Financial Markets

When: Friday, September 29, 2023
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM CT

Where: Parkes Hall, Room 222, 1870 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Graduate Students

Contact: Ariel Sowers   (847) 491-7454

Group: Department of Political Science

Category: Academic


Please join the Race, Ethnicity, and Politics Workshop, and the Comparative Historical Social Science as they host Professor Patricia Posey from the University of Chicago for a presentation on her current research!

Payday lenders, check cashers, and other fringe economy services are considered more expensive than traditional banking. Critics argue they target racial minorities and people with lower income or credit problems. Thus, they have consistently garnered mixed political attention. This paper explores how high-cost financial market density varies across neighborhood political economies. I leverage the locations of mainstream and alternative financial services to highlight how the local availability of financial services is racialized in distinct ways from the class composition of the neighborhood. Individuals in fringe economy neighborhoods develop service-specific beliefs about the predatory nature of the services. These findings show the disparate economic vulnerabilities of racial minorities. The politics of high-cost financial markets often include lenders or financial actors providing necessary services on exploitative terms that limit or eliminate their long-term benefits for racial minorities and credit-poor or lower-income people. Together, this holds implications for scholarship and public policy on the persistence of racial, economic, and participatory inequality.

Dr. Posey is an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago as well as the Political Science Department’s junior faculty member for the Race and Capitalism Project, where she specializes in race and American political economy.

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