Researchers in Hyde Park Office NORC's work supplies insight for informed decisions. Consumer at check out counter Washington Monument in spring
Hyde Park Meeting Walking in Hyde Park Hallway

Economics

Our understanding and expectations of lifetime employment—what a career can or should be—is evolving rapidly.  At the same time, increasing global competition and economic fluctuation and crisis complicate the dynamic between costs and wages and individual access to essential goods and services.

NORC’s economic research has sought to capture diverse labor experiences and the trajectories of careers over time, yielding a wealth of data critical to understanding local economies as well as national and global economic stability. In addition to labor, this research encompasses a broad range of studies in education, training, consumption, personal success, small business, family finances, and more. As early as World War II, NORC helped assess the impact of government campaigns, such as rationing and recycling, on American households. NORC is also home to the triennial Federal Reserve Board’s Consumer Finance Survey, one of the best and only sources of information on the financial circumstances of U.S. households. In fact, it was researchers at NORC who helped establish the now widely accepted concept of the “economics of family.” 

The General Social Survey (GSS), NORC’s flagship survey and one of its longest running projects, is entering its fourth decade. One of the most frequently cited sources of social science information, the GSS provides an ongoing, cross-disciplinary view of American society and culture, including educational opportunities and vocation. The National Longitudinal Studies, launched by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the 1960s, began as an exploration into why increasing numbers of men were leaving the work force before retirement. It has since evolved—with the addition of women and their biological offspring—into an exceptionally rich mine of labor, family, and financial insights across generations. Drawing from this work, NORC helped establish one of the most prominent collections of data on education, labor, and their economic outcomes: the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979 and 1997.

Using telephone, in-person and computer-assisted interviews, NORC has achieved a high response rate and expertise with these longitudinal survey instruments. NORC also draws from landmark studies in its other focus areas—particularly education—to create new knowledge about the impact of economic conditions, policies and programs.
 
Specific areas of expertise include:

Representative Projects

Development of Secondary Mortgage Facility in Rwanda. NORC assisted the Rwanda Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to implement its plan to reform housing finance in the countryand assess the feasibility of restructuring the Housing Bank of Rwanda (BHR) to be a secondary mortgage market facility. More

Housing Finance in the Palestinian Territories. ​NORC worked to evaluate and improve housing finance capabilities in the Palestinian Territories with the World Bank’s FIRST Initiative, a special-project facility to support improvements to operations of financial markets in emerging countries. More

Houston Foreclosure Study. ​Researchers at the University of Houston and NORC are designing a small panel survey to illuminate the factors contributing to foreclosure (including a test of financial literacy) and what happens to families after they leave their foreclosed home. An additional research question is the impact of foreclosure on children.  More

Secure Data Access Facility (SDAF) for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The National Science Foundation awarded a contract to NORC to create a Secure Data Access Facility (SDAF) to house the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) and Survey of Doctorate Recipients (SDR) data and metadata and to provide secure remote access and technical support to authorized researchers at the direction of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Division of Science Resources Statistics (SRS). More

Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF).

Sponsored by the Federal Reserve Board, this triennial survey is the only fully representative source of information on the broad financial circumstances of U.S. households. No other survey collects data on the household finances of a probability sample of Americans.  Data from the SCF are used to inform monetary policy, tax policy, consumer protection, and a variety of other policy issues. The data also serve as a basis for longer-term research on the economic state of the American family. More

See all Economics projects

Headlines

News CNN Money: The AP-NORC Center provides insight in to wealth and income in the U.S. More
Posted: 7.22.2014 4:19PM
News Crain's Chicago Business: NORC Senior Fellow Carroll Joynes talks about the prospect of George Lucas's museum coming to Chicago More
Posted: 7.10.2014 4:52PM
News The Huffington Post: HOW Survey of Consumer Finance reflects on the work of French economist Thomas PikettyThomas More
Posted: 6.4.2014 4:40PM
News Yahoo! News: The GSS looks at how people link trust and intelligence, and March Madness business practices may just be affected by both More
Posted: 3.25.2014 8:58AM
News Chicago Tribune: Most Americans expect to work during 'retirement,' poll finds More
Posted: 10.30.2013 11:43AM

Contacts

Chet Bowie

(301) 634-9334

Jeffrey Telgarsky

(301) 634-9413

Jeffrey Hackett

(312) 759-4266

Tom W. Smith

(773) 256-6288