Economic recessions, technological change, and changing patterns of household formation are among a host of factors altered the way employers and workers find and relate to one another, the way the education system prepares people for productive careers, and the way families spend and save money. Policy makers need timely data on the conditions facing workers and consumers.
NORC has extensive expertise in gathering data and developing measures to accurately assess the state of our economy and the effects of economic policy on workers and consumers. Our researchers lead the development of major national and international surveys assessing labor markets, work conditions, and consumer finances with the support of external experts in government and academia.
The two National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) cohorts follow teenagers in 1979 and 1997 over the course of their work lives. The NLSY cohorts are the primary longitudinal surveys funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. The NLSY data is heavily used by economists, sociologists, and social demographers to study the transition from school-to work, economic mobility, family formation, and gender and racial inequality, among other topics. Comparing the experiences of the 1979 and 1997 NLSY cohorts has been particularly important for understanding how economic and social changes are shaping individuals’ work trajectories.
The General Social Survey (GSS) has studied the social and economic lives of Americans since 1972. The GSS is the primary survey funded by the U.S. government's National Science Foundation in the discipline of sociology, alongside the American National Election Studies (ANES) for political science, and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) for economics. The GSS includes extensive questions on work conditions that extend beyond what is available on other nationally representative surveys. These include questions related to benefits, control over the work process, schedule flexibility, and employer-employee relations in the workplace.
The Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) collects data on the wealth of Americans families. The SCF is sponsored by the Federal Reserve. The SCF provides a unique view into the debt--including student loans, medical debt, mortgages—held by U.S. households as well as household assets like stocks, real estate, and pensions. This survey provides important data for tracking wealth inequality over time across households by race, education, gender, and for other marginalized populations.