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A project team meeting

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

Birth Cohort Evaluation to Advance Screening and Testing for Hepatitis C (Best-C). The Birth Cohort Evaluation to Advance Screening and Testing for Hepatitis C (Best-C) will estimate the effectiveness and cost of a Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) screening strategy that targets all individuals in the birth cohorts born between 1945 and 1965 as compared with the current risk-based HCV screening approach. Best-C consists of two studies, a retrospective and a prospective study, where qualitative interviews will assess the feasibility and acceptance of the new (birth-cohort) strategy by medical staff and a simulation model will estimate the cost effectiveness of the birth-cohort screening compared to the risk-based screening.  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

High School and Beyond Follow-up Survey. NORC, in partnership with the University of Texas Austin, has secured a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to conduct a follow-up study with the 1980 sophomore cohort of the High School and Beyond (HS&B) sample. This project will re-contact the nationally representative HS&B sophomore sample members (N=14,825) just before most turn 50 years old.  This follow-up survey will collect some current information on sample members' labor force experience, health status, family roles, and expectations for continued work and retirement.  These data will become part of a robust data source that will also include data from the 1980 base year survey and from the four follow-ups that took place between 1982 and 1992. This valuable resource will be used to study a number of issues related to the consequences for midlife health and labor force participation of adolescent and early adult circumstances and characteristics. 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

Survey of Economically Successful Americans. Economically successful Americans have views about national problems that can be of great value to scholars and policy makers.  But little is known about the views of the most successful Americans which leads to these views being ignored and sometimes distorted by the media.  The Survey of Economically Successful Americans and the Common Good (SESA) gives this select group a rare opportunity to make their voice heard by academics and policy makers engaged in matters of national importance. More

See all Economics projects

Headlines

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
News The Associated Press, at ABCNews.com: NORC's Journalism Fellow Matt Sedensky looks at AP-NORC poll information and how Americans are working at older ages More
Posted: 10.14.2013 9:59AM
News The New York Times: The Survey of Consumer Finance looks at mortgage debts for retirees More
Posted: 10.7.2013 1:52PM
News Gawker.com: The great recession, our economy, and what the GSS data on how Americans identify their class More
Posted: 9.24.2013 4:32PM

Contacts

Chet Bowie

(301) 634-9334

Jeffrey Telgarsky

(301) 634-9413

Jeffrey Hackett

(312) 759-4266

Tom W. Smith

(773) 256-6288