Economics, Justice, and Society

The Economics, Justice and Society (EJS) Department focuses on a broad range of topics relating to critical economic and social issues. We are home to many of NORC’s largest and longest-running surveys, and we also engage in policy analysis and evaluation research relating to social programs and issues, the economy and the labor force, transportation and traffic safety, and crime and law enforcement. We work with a diverse set of clients and partners, including policy-makers and data users in national, state and local governments, academia, and the press.

The large-scale surveys based in the EJS department include the National Longitudinal Surveys (NLS), a set of surveys designed to gather information on the labor market activities and other significant life events of various groups within the American population; the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), a survey of U.S. families that collects information on family income and wealth; and the General Social Survey (GSS), which examines trends in American attitudes and beliefs over time. We also carry out many smaller and special purpose surveys focusing on a broad range of topics.

Our survey staff have decades of experience in survey design and methodology, multi-mode data collection, data dissemination, researching hard-to-reach populations, and the design and implementation of confidentiality protections. In addition to traditional multimode surveys (in-person, phone, and web survey), our experts use innovative and real-time data collection methods such as roadside surveys and the collection of biological data. We are also expert in the use of other types of data such as program administrative data and offender records, and we are experienced in a range of techniques such as statistical matching to link data from more than one source to create comprehensive analytic files. We are innovators in data dissemination, creating data search and extraction tools such as the GSS Explorer to facilitate data usage while also providing a full suite of more traditional dissemination services.

In addition to our expertise on issues relating to surveys and data, the EJS department includes experts in policy analysis and program evaluation who focus on a diverse set of economic and social issues and programs. We carry out analyses of policy proposals, examine the impacts of existing policies, and evaluate program designs, operations, and outcomes using experimental and non-experimental designs and mixed methods. We also perform statistical research relating to conceptual and measurement issues such as the measurement of poverty, and undertake broader-based studies on social and economic needs and the determinants of longer-range outcomes for policy initiatives.