NORC conference room chair Researchers in Hyde Park Office Meeting in NORC's Bethesda office 
NORC Researcher in Bethesda Office Consumer at check out counter NORC's work supplies insight for informed decisions. A work session in NORC's offices

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

American Competitiveness Survey.

In collaboration with Principal Investigators John Walsh from Georgia Tech and Ashish Arora and Wes Cohen from Duke University and the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), NORC collected survey data from more than 6,600 U.S. businesses via computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI). More

Economic Shocks, Neighborhood Food Infrastructure and Very Low Food Security Among Children. Drawing on a recent panel survey of a representative sample of metropolitan Detroit, Scott Allard and U Michigan researchers will explore the extent to which two types of adverse economic shocks experienced by low-income households with children—job loss and parental divorce or separation—are associated with increased risk of very low food security among children. We will further explore the importance of food assistance program participation and access to the local food resource infrastructure as key moderators of these relationships. To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the relationships between economic shocks, access to local food resources, and child food security. 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

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

Sparks: The NORC Blog Jared Sullivan: Industrial Real Estate, Backbone of the Nation’s Economy More
Posted: 3.23.2015 4:31PM
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

Contacts

Chet Bowie

(301) 634-9334

Jeffrey Telgarsky

(301) 634-9413

Jeffrey Hackett

(312) 759-4266

Tom W. Smith

(773) 256-6288