This project aims to provide the architecture for re-engineering official economic statistics — literally to build key measurements such as GDP and consumer inflation from the ground up. The new measurement architecture offers internally consistent real output and inflation measures that adjust for product turnover and product quality change at scale. It builds up measures of inflation and spending from granular, item-level transactions data. It therefore engineers statistics directly from the information systems of firms rather than superimposing a measurement system based on surveys implemented by statistical agencies.

Thomas (Tom) Crossley is Research Professor and Codirector of the Panel Study for Income Dynamics (PSID). Professor Crossley’s research interests include household behavior (particularly consumption and saving behavior), financial security, and living standards; the design, collection and analysis of survey data; and economic measurement more broadly.

Building on research and data from the Transformations in Poverty and Property Rights in Rural Tanzania project (2009-present), the key objectives of this study are to:

  1. Strengthen understanding of the types of social assets that can advance productive uses of renewable energy in rural Tanzania;
  2. Enhance capacity in regional universities for assessment of village-based social assets that can be mobilized to support solar mini-grid investments;
  3. Liaise with Tanzanian civil society organizations (including non- governmental organizations, microfinance institutions, business incubators, entrepreneurial training institutes, and women’s organizations) to expand the range and scale of productive uses of renewable energy; and
  4. Consult with and select 4-6 villages with demonstrable success in managing social assets that can serve as pilot sites for mini-grid installation and expansion of productive uses of renewable energy in the rural sector.

The Arab Barometer was established in 2005 by the Institute for Social Research of the University of Michigan in close collaboration with institutions and scholars in the Arab world. The project is a multi-country survey project that provides data for theory-driven scholarly inquiry and for dissemination and outreach activities that are useful for political development. Among the many topics covered in the Arab Barometer survey instrument are conceptions of governance and attitudes about democracy; tolerance and respect for diversity; civic engagement and political participation; inter-personal and political trust; attitudes toward status of women and gender equality; religiosity and religious attachments; support for terrorism and radical ideologies, and views of international relations and other countries.

Data from the first five waves of surveys may be found on the project’s website. Arab Barometer surveys have been conducted one or more times in each of the following 15 countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, Qatar, and Yemen. 

Not all health insurance is created equal. Medicaid typically provides coverage with little or no patient cost-sharing, while private plans may expose patients to high out-of-pocket spending. On the flip side, not all providers will accept Medicaid patients, so that access to providers may be better with private coverage. We will evaluate the pros and cons of Medicaid versus private coverage for low-income families

As a result of the Affordable Care Act, the cap in Medicaid eligibility in many states is 138% of the poverty level. This project will use this sharp cutoff to evaluate the pros and cons of Medicaid versus private coverage for low-income families. Among other outcomes, we will analyze out-of-pocket health care spending and access to care.

We will also analyze the spillover effects of Medicaid versus private coverage on the use of other social welfare programs such as Food Stamps/SNAP and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Data for the analyses will come from the Current Population Survey, and the Medical Expenditure Panel Study.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) created new, subsidized alternatives to employer-sponsored health insurance that may mitigate the consequences of job loss. This study assesses the ACA’s role as a safety net for the unemployed. Using data from the American Community Survey, the Current Population Survey, and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, we address two questions:

  1. First, has the ACA increased insurance coverage and medical care access among unemployed individuals in states that expanded Medicaid relative to the unemployed in states that did not?
  2. Second, did coverage expansions have the unintended consequence of increasing the duration of unemployment spells?

Using Health and Retirement Study data together with rich job characteristic data from O*NET, we will identify variables related to work context that characterize jobs based on levels of physiological and psychological stress. We will evaluate differences by race/ethnicity, explore whether these characteristics relate to disabled work status/retirement timing, and explore whether these associations differ by race. We will explore implications of these results for older adults’ financial security and discuss implications for the Social Security Trust fund.

Many older adults engage in self-employment, yet little is known about the nature of these activities due to a lack of data on work ranging from occasional gig employment to contract work to business ownership. The implications of such arrangements for income and economic security, work and retirement, and well-being are, therefore, relatively unexplored. This project will use natural language processing to leverage internal longitudinal data collected in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) on narrative responses on industry and type of work to better understand older workers’ self-employment roles. The project will first classify reports to identify ownership, management, and independent self-employment roles, and will make the classification publicly available. The project will then use the classification, along with the breadth of information collected in the HRS and linkages to administrative records, to explore how the distribution and characteristics of employment have changed over time across different employment types. We also will examine how participation in different self-employment categories, including the gig economy, in the years leading up to and after retirement, has affected individuals’ economic security in retirement and their Social Security coverage and benefit adequacy. Linkage to administrative records will permit identifying reasons for discrepancies in administrative and survey reports of self-employment. The project will help to further understanding of who works in different types of self-employment and how self-employment types effects retirement age, work, and economic security in retirement, and well-being more broadly.

The number of older adults living with dementia is predicted to increase rapidly in coming years, reaching 12 million by 2050. Dementia is a degenerative clinical condition that can lead to impaired financial decision-making, raising concerns about the growing need for family members, friends, and other surrogates to manage benefits for cognitively impaired Social Security beneficiaries. This project uses a unique linkage of credit report data and Medicare claims to describe adverse financial outcomes before and after formal dementia diagnoses. Findings will provide important evidence about the prevalence and magnitude of financial difficulties among cognitively impaired Medicare beneficiaries.

Dementia, a chronic, degenerative disease characterized by deteriorating cognition, represents a particularly aggressive threat to older adults’ financial well-being. Dementia-linked adverse financial events have the potential to deteriorate retirement savings, increasing financial strain and potentially demand for Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. The presence of an unimpaired spouse may protect dementia patients if the unimpaired spouse intervenes, or both spouses may be harmed by financial errors committed by the dementia patient. In this project, we use linked consumer credit data and Medicare claims to study adverse financial effects before and after a formal dementia diagnosis among co-residing couples to address the topic of risks and resources at older ages. Findings from this study will provide SSA with important information about the impacts of dementia on the financial well-being of married couples and provide baseline information about the co-movement of spousal credit outcomes.

Scroll to Top