Michigan Recession and Recovery Study (MRRS)

The NPC is conducting a panel study to better understand how the Great Recession that officially lasted from December 2007 through January 2009, and the collapse of stock and housing prices during this period have affected the well-being of workers and families. An additional goal is to understand how increased federal spending through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) may have helped cushion the negative effects of these economic shocks.

In this project, we are:

Collecting panel data to explore how the severe recession and the collapse of stock and housing prices are influencing the economic and non-economic well-being (e.g., health, mental health) of workers and families;

Assessing the extent to which social welfare programs and ARRA spending may have offset some of the negative effects of the economic crisis; and

Exploring how changes in exposure to economic hardship and use of social programs affect health and socio-economic disparities between African Americans and non-Hispanic whites.

Our findings will be of interest to researchers, policy makers, community organizations and the public. The findings will be widely disseminated to multiple audiences through journal articles, policy briefs and conference presentations.

Policy Briefs
Young Adults in Southeast Michigan after the Great Recession: Results from the Michigan Recession and Recovery Study Lucie Kalousova, Sheldon Danziger, and Sarah A. Burgard, University of Michigan (#36, December 2012)

Material Hardships During the Great Recession: Findings From the Michigan Recession and Recovery Study Alix Gould-Werth and Kristin S. Seefeldt, University of Michigan (#35, July 2012)

The Receipt Of Public Benefits and Private Charity Among Low Income Households Following the Great Recession Scott W. Allard, University of Chicago, Sandra Danziger and Maria Wathen, University of Michigan (#34, November 2012)

Persisting Hardships in Southeast Michigan After the Great Recession Sarah A. Burgard, Sheldon Danziger, Kristin Seefeldt, Scott Allard, Sandra Danziger, Tedi Engler, Alix Gould-Werth, Lucie Kalousova, Shawn M. Pelak and Maria Wathen, National Poverty Center, University of Michigan (#33, November 2012)

Economic Hardship and Children's Behavioral Health in the Wake of the Great Recession: Findings from the Michigan Recession and Recovery Study-Child and Youth Study Ariel Kalil, University of Chicago and Lindsey Leininger, University of Illinois–Chicago (#32, June 2012)

Receipt of Public Benefits and Private Support among Low-income Households with Children after the Great Recession
Scott W. Allard, University of Chicago, Sandra Danziger and Maria Wathen, University of Michigan (#31, April 2012)

Employment Problems in the Wake of the Great Recession: Findings from the Michigan Recession and Recovery Study
Alix Gould-Werth and Sarah A. Burgard, University of Michigan (#30, March 2012)

Housing Instability and Health: Findings from the Michigan Recession and Recovery Study
Prepared by Meredith Horowski, University of Michigan, based on a paper by Sarah A. Burgard, University of Michigan, Kristin S. Seefeldt, Indiana University, and Sarah W. Zelner, University of Pennsylvania (#29, March 2012)

Working Papers
Perceived Job Insecurity and Health: The Michigan Recession and Recovery Study
Sarah A. Burgard and Lucie Kalousova, University of Michigan and Kristin S. Seefeldt, Indiana University (2012 - 05)

Housing Instability and Health: Findings from the Michigan Recession and Recovery Study
Sarah A. Burgard, University of Michigan, Kristin S. Seefeldt, Indiana University, and Sarah W. Johnson, University of Michigan (2011-23)

Family Finances after the Great Recession — Evidence from the Michigan Recession and Recovery Study
Ngina Chiteji, Skidmore College and Sheldon Danziger, University of Michigan (2011-21)

Background
The Great Recession led to declines in the gross domestic product and increases in the unemployment rate that are greater than in any recession since that of 1981-1982. And the collapse of stock prices and housing prices has reduced the financial wealth and economic security of a significant portion of the entire population. Many low- and middle-income families have experienced layoffs, reductions in hours, difficulty finding jobs, mortgage defaults, disruptions of retirement plans, and related labor market insecurities and financial troubles.

Just as the recession and the housing crisis are severe by historical standards, the ARRA is a dramatic policy response--it represents the largest two-year increase in federal spending on low-income families in decades. For example, the ARRA increased unemployment insurance benefits (UI) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps) benefits and provided increased tax credits to the working poor in an attempt to reduce market-induced declines in consumption and prevent serious material hardships. The ARRA provided additional funds to states and local governments to prevent additional layoffs and to support projects that attempt to stabilize communities and neighborhoods.

The Southeast Michigan region, long affected by deindustrialization and the loss of well-paid middle class jobs, has been hit especially hard by the Great Recession, making it an ideal place to carry out this study for several reasons. First, the region has suffered extensively; foreclosure rates are very high and unemployment rates are among the highest in the nation. In addition to job losses, the automobile industry and its subsidiaries were restructured, resulting in significant downsizing of the industry that was once the major regional employer. A combination of ARRA funding to the State of Michigan, other ARRA funding for the disadvantaged and the unemployed, and significant federal funding provided to the automobile industry make this an excellent environment in which to analyze how the severe recession, the housing crisis and increased federal spending affected workers and families.

Data Collection
Working with the Survey Research Center at the Institute for Social Research, NPC researchers are conducting a panel study of a stratified random sample of 900 households in Southeast Michigan (Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties).  Wave 1 data collection began in fall 2009 and was completed in spring 2010. Wave 2 data collection began in spring 2011 and was completed in summer 2011. Wave 3 data collection began in June 2013 and will end in October 2013.

The comprehensive survey instrument covers many domains: demographics, employment and the labor market, income and assets (including net housing worth), health and mental health, material hardships, credit and debt, and public program use. This longitudinal study will provide timely information that addresses important research and public policy questions.

Child Supplement
At Wave 2, we gathered data on the effects of the economic downturn on primary caregivers and children through a child supplement. These data were collected from 300 households in which children resided through self-administered questionnaires completed by the primary caregiver.

Research Team
The research team is led by NPC Director, Sheldon Danziger (currently on leave) and NPC Research Affiliates Kristin Seefeldt, Assistant Professor of Social Work and Sarah Burgard, Associate Professor of Sociology.

The research team includes NPC Research Affiliates Scott Allard, Associate Professor at the School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago; Sandra Danziger, Professor of Social Work; Ariel Kalil, Professor at the Harris School at the University of Chicago; Helen Levy, Research Associate Professor, Institute for  Social Research, School of Public Health, and Ford School of Public Policy; and Robert Schoeni, Research Professor, Population Studies Center, Professor, G. Ford School of Public Policy, Professor of Economics, and Research Professor, Survey Research Center.

Funding
The first wave of the survey was funded by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Planning and Evaluation, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Michigan, and the Ford Foundation. 

The second wave of the survey was funded by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Planning and Evaluation, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Michigan, the Ford Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The third wave of the survey is being funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as well as the Rockefeller Foundation.