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Financial Crisis: A Longitudinal Study of Public Response (ICPSR 36341)

Principal Investigator(s): Burns, William, Decision Research


This collection, A Longitudinal Study of Public Response, was conducted to understand the trajectory of risk perception amidst an ongoing economic crisis. A nation-wide panel responded to eight surveys beginning in late September 2008 at the peak of the crisis and concluded in August 2011. At least 600 respondents participated in each survey, with 325 completing all eight surveys. The online survey focused on perceptions of risk (savings, investments, retirement, job), negative emotions toward the financial crisis (sadness, anxiety, fear, anger, worry, stress), confidence in national leaders to manage the crisis (President Obama, Congress, Treasury Secretary, business leaders), and belief in one's ability to realize personal objectives despite the crisis. Latent growth curve modeling was conducted to analyze change in risk perception throughout the crisis. Demographic information includes ethnic origin, sex, age, marital status, income, political affiliation and education.

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Study Description


Burns, William. Financial Crisis: A Longitudinal Study of Public Response. ICPSR36341-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2016-01-25. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36341.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36341.v1

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This study was funded by:

  • National Science Foundation (SES-0901036)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    economic crises, emotional states, employment, gender, income, investments, political affiliation, public confidence, retirement, risk assessment, risk management, savings, trust in government

Smallest Geographic Unit:    None

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 2008-09--2011-08

Date of Collection:   

  • 2008-09--2011-08

Unit of Observation:    Individual

Data Type(s):    survey data


Study Design:    This longitudinal panel study was launched on September 29, 2008, the day the Dow experienced its largest one-day point drop. The first of seven waves of data collection was dedicated almost exclusively to public response to the financial crisis. Further data collection followed on October 8, 2008, November 5, 2008, December 6, 2008, March 21, 2009, June 30, 2009, October 6, 2009, and August 9, 2011. The surveys were spaced closer together in the beginning of the study believing that the most change would occur early in the crisis and, of course, not knowing how long the crisis would last. Collecting the first seven waves of data over a year's period allowed time for the public to respond to different phases of the crisis. A panel of over 800 individuals participated in the study. This ongoing Internet panel was developed by Decision Research through word-of-mouth and Internet recruiting (e.g., paying for Google search words). Nonrespondents (panelists invited to participate but who chose not to) did not differ significantly from respondents in terms of age, gender, or education. Surveys were left open for completion for four to six days, although most panelists responded in the first 24 hours. These online panelists were paid at the rate of $15 per hour with a typical payment of $6 and an incentive if they completed all surveys. Any panelist who appeared to rush through the survey was eliminated and not invited to participate again.

Sample:    Convenience sample of Decision Research web-panel participation located throughout the United States.

Time Method:    Longitudinal

Weight:    N/A

Mode of Data Collection:    web-based survey

Response Rates:    Wave 1: 81 percent; Wave 2: 89 percent; Wave 2a:80 percent; Wave 3: 87 percent; Wave 4: 85 percent; Wave 5: 91 percent; Wave 6: 76 percent; Wave 7: 74 percent; Wave 8: 79 percent

Presence of Common Scales:    Lipkus Numeracy Score, Hierarchy-Egalitarianism Scale, Individualism-Communitarianism

Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Created online analysis version with question text.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   2016-01-25

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