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CDC Expert Panel on Macroeconomic Factors and Individual Violence

For the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), DSG established the CDC Expert Panel on Macroeconomic Factors and Individual Violence to oversee, and contribute to (as co-authors), the production of a set of literature reviews and articles that were published as a special issue of a scholarly journal. The goals of the project were to 1) identify research that has already addressed the connections among various macroeconomic factors (such as poverty, unemployment, and inflation) and youth violence, in the long run and the short run; 2) identify opportunities for doing additional research that can broaden and deepen our understanding in this area; and 3) identify opportunities for developing interventions, especially preventive interventions, that can contribute to reductions in youth violence, by affecting the macroeconomic factors themselves, as well as the more proximal factors that mediate the economic factors and youth violence. Expert panel members—nationally and internationally recognized leaders in their fields, include Alfred Blumstein, Rick Rosenfeld, Karen Heimer, Robert Crutchfield, Darnell Hawkins, Janet Lauritsen, and Eric Baumer. This project resulted in three deliverables to help CDC set future research and policy agendas: a review of the literature that identified findings supported by the research and gaps; a report on the state of monitoring systems and indicators and recommendations for improvements both in the short and long term, and an edited volume produced by the expert panel.

The DSG team formulated new conceptualizations to guide such research and formulate preventive interventions based on that research. DSG staff worked closely with expert panelists and CDC staff to review the literature that examined the direct connections between macroeconomic factors and youth violence, a literature that was, as hypothesized, scant. Consequently, the team also reviewed literature that looked at the linkages between macroeconomic factors and mediating factors (schools, family, street markets, community resources) and between mediating factors and youth violence.

This work resulted in a database with more than 1,100 studies and a book-length monograph that identified findings supported by the multi-disciplinary studies under review and identified gaps in the literature that need to be addressed in order to understand and address the linkages. DSG organized a 1-day meeting devoted to the issue of extant monitoring systems and indicators that provide information about changes in youth violence, macroeconomic factors, and the mediating factors identified in the framework. The panelists identified the strengths and shortcomings of extant systems. The DSG team produced a report, based on the meeting that reported on the panelists’ findings and offered specific recommendations on how to strengthen systems. Members of the expert panel, the DSG team, and the CDC staff contributed articles that were published as an edited volume.