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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Committee on National Statistics
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Workshop on the Potential for Research Using Linked Census, Survey, and Administrative Data to Assess the Longer Term Effects of Policy

May 9, 2016

Keck Center
Washington, DC


The National Research Council, through its Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT), convened the First Phase Standing Committee on Creating the American Opportunity Study to oversee the creation of the American Opportunity Study (AOS), a novel, large-scale resource for studies of educational, occupational, and economic mobility across and within generations. By permitting on-demand links of existing censuses, administrative data (e.g., IRS and SSA data), and other survey data (e.g., the American Community Survey), the AOS will provide reliable, longitudinal measurements for the entire population and important population subgroups, such as those defined by economic status, race-ethnicity, national origin, generational status, education, gender, age, and geographic location. The AOS will illuminate contemporary levels, differentials, and trends in mobility, and also provide valid comparisons with past decades. Once established, it will be relatively inexpensive to carry the AOS forward.

The standing committee sponsored a public workshop with invited presentations and discussions to help identify and highlight the breadth of policy oriented social science research that would be possible if all phases of the AOS were to be completed. The workshop brought together researchers working in social and economic mobility and a variety of other disciplines. Presenters discussed the types of policy-oriented questions that they study, and how the AOS could improve the evidence base for assessing the long term impact of policy.



Creating the American Opportunity Study: Our Vision
Timothy Smeeding, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Census Bureau Linage Infrastructure
Amy O’Hara, Center for Administrative Records Research & Applications, Census Bureau

What Would this Resource Enable You to Do in the Study of Social and Economc Mobility? 

Social Mobility Research with the AOS
David Grusky, Stanford University

Social Mobility and Neighborhood Effects
Nathaniel Hendren, Harvard University

Family Instability and Complexity
Laura Tach, Cornell University

What Would this Resource Enable You to Do in the Study of Health, Education, and the Life Course?

Early Life and the Roots of Inequality 
Janet Currie, Princeton University

Health Status and Later Life Diseases
Kenneth Smith, University of Utah

Early Childhood Experiences
Cybele Raver, New York University

Educational Effects
Susan Dynarski, University of Michigan

What Would this Resource Enable You to Do in Program Evaluation and Life Experiences? 

Program Evaluation and Life Experiences
Gordon Berlin, MDRC

Life Course Criminology
John Laub, University of Maryland
William Sabol, Westat

Military Service and Veteran’s Status
Alair MacLean, Washington State

What Would this Resource Enable You to Do When Used Cooperatively with Other Sources of Data and Information?

Research Opportunities with the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health and the AOS
Katherine Harris, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

The Panel Study of Income Dynamics and Mobility
David Johnson, University of Michigan

LIFE-M—Longitudinal, Intergenerational Family Electronic Microdata
Martha Bailey, University of Michigan

Using Linked Administrative Data to Inform Policy and Practice: The Wisconsin Experience
Jennifer Noyes, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Next Steps 

Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking
Bruce Meyer, University of Chicago

Summary of Discussions
Michael Hout, New York University
Timothy Smeeding, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Bhash Mazumder, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Record Linkage for the AOS: Formal Framework and Research Agenda
Stephen Fienberg, Carnegie Mellon University

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