The Heller Committee for Research in Social Economics budgets consists of thirty five budgets, 1933-1950, with accompanying
explanatory text, on the cost of living for families of different occupations and for single women in San Francisco. The Heller
Committee for Research in Social Economics, of the University of California, Berkeley, produced the budgets (commonly known
as the Heller Budgets), which encompass the Great Depression, World War II, and post-War eras. The budgets were for the use
of social welfare agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area in determining the needs and support of families who were their clients.
The Heller Committe for Research in Social Economics was organized in 1923 by Professor Jessica Peixotto, chair of the Economics
Department at the University of California, Berkeley. Peixotto obtained funding for the committee from Mrs. Clara Hellman
Heller; her aim was to continue her research in the study of state wages and salaries among clerical workers, laborers, and
executives. The members of the Committee were drawn from the UC Berkeley departments of economics and law; Peixotto served
as its first chair. The funding provided the means for women faculty and graduate students in economics and home economics
to undertake research in consumer economics. The committee sponsored the research and publication of many such studies, with
particular emphasis on California, between 1923 and its demise in 1962; however, it was best known for its yearly "Heller
Budget". These budgets, one of three types of reports published by the committee, were innovative in their attention to a
broad range of household expenditures not generally measured by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, examining how
families actually spent their money rather than how economists thought they spent it, and thus allowed Peixotto and her colleagues
to analyze how families gauged their expenditures in relation to their actual and hoped-for standard of living.
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to publish them. Copyright has not been assigned to the California Social Welfare Archives, and the researcher is instructed
to obtain permission to quote from or publish manuscripts in the CSWA's collections from the copyright holder.
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