Brandeis University and Boston University in the U.S. will gather and disseminate the life histories of people who have suffered economic decline to highlight the dynamic nature of the underlying causes and better inspire empathy. Economic and social decline often lurches in fits and starts over a lifetime, driven by diverse, interrelated factors such as family resources and relationships. However, most studies on social mobility focus on a specific moment in time. As an alternative approach, they will conduct interviews with men and women from diverse backgrounds who have experienced an economic shock to assess their personal, familial, and neighborhood settings; their emotions and key events; and how they relate to their economic circumstances over time. They will also harness the capacity of young people to change public opinions to develop effective strategies to disseminate the stories to their peers.
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