The UNC Center for Community Capital offers comprehensive research and policy analysis in its areas of expertise.
Researchers seek to discover and recommend how policies and practices may be improved so that more Americans can enter the financial mainstream and climb the ladder to financial security.
The center offers particular expertise managing large and complex data sets involving longitudinal, cross-sectional and multi-level variables.
The center designs issue-appropriate research projects using a range of research tools, including:
- Refining the research agenda.
- Reviewing literature and theory.
- Identifying available sources of data.
- Analyzing the state of relevant policy and practices.
- Designing data collecting, sampling and analysis plan.
- Developing data collection instruments.
Researchers employ a full range of methods to collect data on participants of all types: individuals, households, enterprises and financial institutions.
Center projects collect data on:
- Economic conditions of individuals, households and establishments.
- Demographic and socioeconomic status.
- Geographic and neighborhood information.
- Attitudes and opinions about financial issues.
Data collection methods include:
- Large-scale, longitudinal panel data collection. We specialize in questionnaire design; in-person interviewing and phone surveys; creating sampling frames; data set planning, development and documentation; and weighting for attrition and non-response bias.
- Smaller-scale survey data collection projects — in person; by mail, telephone or Internet; and mixed methods.
- Qualitative data collection, including case studies, focus groups, key informant and stakeholder interviews, and site visits.
- Integrating data from secondary data sets, such as U.S. Census, Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), Survey of Consumer Finance, National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), General Social Survey, Integrated Public Use Microdata Set (IPUMS), American Community Survey and American Housing Survey.
The center brings extensive experience collecting financial information that requires attention to the sensitivities and issues of confidentiality and privacy. All research conforms to guidelines set by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Office of Human Research Ethics, which oversees all university research involving human subjects to ensure it is conducted ethically.
Center researchers offer a diverse set of skills in data analysis and inferential statistical analysis, particularly in multivariate analyses of categorical and longitudinal panel data. This includes:
- Selection models
- Competing risk models
- Survival analysis
- Propensity score matching
- Multilevel modeling
- Multiple imputation
- Structural equation model
Center researchers examine policy outcomes and implications of their study findings and can recommend specific actions to achieve policy goals.
The center’s policy analysis tools include:
- Refining the research agenda to include policy-relevant questions.
- Reviewing policy literature and theory.
- Analyzing the current state of relevant policies at the national, state and local levels.
- Identifying promising policy innovations at the national, state and local levels.
- Identifying opportunities to revise public policies to achieve specific goals.
- Analyzing the impact of current and proposed policies on specific populations of interest.
Reporting and Dissemination
The center produces reports in a variety of formats that present study methods and results and discuss policy implications. Center staff members frequently present findings and policy recommendations at hearings and conferences on the full range of issues related to access and flow of financial capital and its impact on households and communities.
Among the center’s key methods of reporting and dissemination are:
- Searchable online archive of all publicly available center reports and presentations.
- Papers published in peer-reviewed academic and policy journals.
- Research reports and policy briefs prepared for policymaker, industry and practitioner audiences.
- Presentations and testimony to legislative, regulatory, policymaker, industry and practitioner audiences.
- Conferences convened by the center and with partners that focus on special issues of financial capital and its impact.
- Background and commentary for trade and general media outlets.