All Publications

How Has the Financial Crisis Affected the Finances of Older Households?

  • Authors: Richard W. Kopcke, Anthony Webb
  • Date: June 6, 2012
This brief considers the impact of recent declines in stock prices and nominal interest rates on older households, examining the effect of the crisis on the financial wealth of older households, the impact of the financial crisis on the investment and total incomes of retired households, and the impact of the financial crisis on lifetime consumption.

The Labor Market Four Years Into the Crisis: Assessing Structural Explanations

  • Author: Jesse Rothstein
  • Date: May 5, 2012
Four years after the beginning of the Great Recession, the labor market remains historically weak. Many observers have concluded that "structural" impediments to recovery bear some of the blame. This paper reviews such structural explanations. I find that there is little evidence supporting these hypotheses, and that the bulk of the evidence is more consistent with the hypothesis that continued poor performance is primarily attributable to shortfalls in the aggregate demand for labor.

Crime and the Great Recession

  • Author: Christopher Uggen
  • Date: October 10, 2012
Common sense tells us that crime should increase during hard times. After all, more than 90 percent of the serious "index" crimes reported each year in the government's Uniform Crime Reports involve some kind of financial remuneration. And we've all seen examples of people taking desperate actions when they are cold, broke, and hungry, whether through real-life, firsthand observations or through fictional characters like Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath. Yet there is much evidence that crime rates and economic indicators often diverge.

Age Disparities in Unemployment and Reemployment during the Great Recession and Recovery

  • Authors: Richard W. Johnson, Barbara A. Butrica
  • Date: June 6, 2012
The surge in unemployment that accompanied and followed the Great Recession - the economic downturn that began in December 2007 and lasted until June 2009 - did not spare either younger or older workers. Nonetheless, age affected how workers fared during the slowdown. Layoffs were less common among older workers who had many years of service with their employers than among their younger counterparts who had less seniority, but older adults took longer to find work when they lost their jobs. Wage losses were especially steep for unemployed workers in their fifties who became reemployed.

Caught in the housing bubble: Immigrants' housing outcomes in traditional gateways and newly emerging destinations

  • Authors: Gary Painter, Zhou Yu
  • Date: October 10, 2012
Research has documented that immigrants have moved in large numbers to almost every metropolitan area and select rural areas in the country (e.g., Lichter and Johnson 2009; Painter and Yu 2010). In the midst of these demographic shifts, the country has experienced a profound recession. To date, there has been little research on the impact of the recession on immigrants across the country. Using the 2006 and 2009 American Community Survey microdata, we assess how the recent economic crisis has affected immigrants with respect to three housing outcomes (residential mobility, homeownership, and household formation) to compare housing outcomes at two important time points in the recent economic cycle. The results suggest the early impact of the recession has not been as severe on immigrants as one might expect. In particular, the places where immigrant populations are newest have not experienced reductions in homeownership as those in the large immigrant gateways. Even in the established gateways, the decline in homeownership has been smaller for immigrants than for native-born households. Regression results suggest that the negative impacts from the recession are strongest in the gateway metropolitan areas, and that after controlling for residence in the hardest hit areas, changes in unemployment rates and increases in metropolitan level default rates have a negative impact on homeownership rates.

Charitable Giving and the Great Recession

  • Authors: Rob Reich and Christopher Wimer
  • Date: October 10, 2012
Americans have long been, and continue to be, a famously charitable people. Whereas Europeans have well-developed and comprehensive welfare states, the United States has always relied more on private charity to support a multitude of causes, including aid and assistance to the poor.

Consumption and the Great Recession

  • Authors: Luigi Pistaferri and Ivaylo Petev
  • Date: October 10, 2012
The particular trauma of severe downturns is that declining consumer spending, itself a reaction to the economy's contraction, also undermines the prospects for recovery. Consumption is, in other words, a fundamental determinant of business cycles - a kind of litmus test of economic health. But it's not just an important determinant of future economic performance. We also look to consumption as an omnibus measure of the set of socioeconomic conditions that underlie consumer behavior, such as job opportunities, price fluctuations, access to credit, and financial security. In this recession brief, we offer an interpretation of recent consumption data in order to determine the extent of the economic damage and its unequal distribution across the American populace.

Family, the Lifecourse, and the Great Recession

  • Authors: S. Philip Morgan, Erin Cumberworth, and Christopher Wimer
  • Date: October 10, 2012
The family is an important setting within which the Great Recession can exert its influence. Although the downturn directly affected many workers by reducing their earnings or forcing them into unemployment, it affected others indirectly by changing their living arrangements or family life. Further, the ways in which families are formed or broken up may be affected by the Great Recession, as it can alter the perceived costs and benefits of various family-relevant behaviors. Amid the turmoil and economic upheaval in the wider economy, individuals and families go about their lives, deciding to get married, suffering through breakups and divorces, planning families, and sorting out their living arrangements. The recession could have major effects on all of these family processes.

Health, Mental Health, and the Great Recession

  • Author: Sarah Burgard
  • Date: October 10, 2012
Are we experiencing a "health recession"? While many think the impacts of the Great Recession are mostly confined to the labor and housing markets, the recession may also have taken a toll on health and wellbeing. In assessing such health impacts, it's important to distinguish between direct and indirect effects, the former pertaining to the health of those who are directly impacted by recession-induced negative events, such as unemployment, and the latter pertaining to the more diffuse behavioral changes that a recession may bring about among the general population. For example, the recession might reduce the amount of discretionary driving (to save on fuel costs), with the indirect result being fewer accidents.

Housing and the Great Recession

  • Authors: Ingrid Gould Ellen and Samuel Dastrup
  • Date: October 10, 2012
The story of the Great Recession cannot be told without addressing housing and, in particular, the dramatic decline in housing prices that began in late 2006. A distinctive feature of the Great Recession is its intimate connection to the housing sector; indeed many would argue that the Great Recession was triggered by the widespread failure of risky mortgage products. Whatever the sources of the Great Recession may have been, the housing sector is still deeply troubled and is a key contributor to our ongoing economic duress. This recession brief lays out the main features of the downturn in the housing sector.