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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

Bank of Spain Survey of Household Finances. The Survey of Household Finances collects data on the investment and financial decisions of Spanish households. It is the sole source of disaggregated data of its kind in Spain and forms an important source of data for research and public policy.  More

General Social Survey (GSS). Since 1972, the General Social Survey (GSS) has been monitoring societal change and studying the growing complexity of American society. The GSS is NORC’s longest running project, and one of its most influential. 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

IFC Indonesia Small and Medium Enterprise Banking Survey. The IFC contracted NORC to develop a survey that can be used by commercial banks to identify attractive market segments; determine appropriate channel, product, and marketing strategies; and inform decisions to accelerate or grow SME banking operations. More

The Economic Burden of Vision Loss and Eye Disorders in the United States. This project was funded by Prevent Blindness America (PBA) with the goal of creating the first comprehensive estimate of the economic burden of vision loss and eye disorders in the United States.  Our report, “Cost of Vision: The Economic Burden of Vision Loss and Eye Disorders in the United States” serves to update the 2007 PBA-sponsored report “The Economic Impact of Eye Problems”.  The 2007 report has stood as the primary estimate of the economic impact of eye and vision problems since its publication, but was subject to a number of limitations that led to an underestimate of total costs, including the omission of persons younger than age 40, the lack of inclusion of a number of cost categories, and the restriction of medical costs to only four eye diseases.   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