The Surveys of Consumers, under George Katona, were created to examine consumer attitudes and expectations about the U.S. economy. Over time, the surveys grew to include items such as respondents’ assessment of business conditions, expected changes in inflation, unemployment and interest rates, economic policies, and market conditions for household durable goods. By providing a gauge of consumer reactions to changes in the economic environment, the surveys helped shape public policies and business decisions, and the monthly survey’s Index of Consumer Expectations is an official component of the U.S. Index of Leading Economic Indicators
Birth of the Survey Research Center
Rensis Likert and Angus Campbell came to the University of Michigan and assembled colleagues who had worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Division of Program Surveys (DPS) during World War II to start the Survey Research Center (SRC). The newcomers—George Katona, Charles Cannell, Leslie Kish, and Daniel Katz—arrived by 1947.