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Allison Schrager

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Actually, Millennials May Be the Wealthiest Generation

December 12, 2018 In the popular imagination, millennials are stuck in a prolonged state of financial adolescence. They have no car, no house, no spouse, and are overwhelmed by student loans. It may not be their fault, but they are worse off than Gen Xers or baby boomers, argues recent coverage of a...

Why All Lotteries Are Based on a Lie

October 23, 2018 A ginormous lottery jackpot can inspire more fantasies than a thousand copies of Fifty Shades of Grey. The Mega Millions lottery advertises a $1.6 billion jackpot, the highest ever. But even if you win (and you probably won’t) you won’t ever get $1.6 billion, or not really. The $1.6 billion...

A New Look at Seattle's Minimum Wage Hike

October 22, 2018 Depending on what we want to believe about the minimum wage, we tend to assume there exists one of two types of low-wage workers. One type is scrappy, but unskilled–looking to get on the first rung of the economic ladder. Once they get that first job they will eventually learn...

Even With Similar Qualifications, Women Spend Time on Tasks That Lead to Lower Pay Than Men

July 21, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Since most pay raises happen in the first 15 years of your career, landing the right job early on is critical. But just getting your foot in the door is not enough. The tasks you do at work, and the skills you learn early on, determine your pay trajectory for...

Social Security Numbers Are Unsafe and Outdated. So Why Do Americans Use Them?

April 18, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The world has changed faster than our infrastructure or policymakers can keep up with. Case in point: the American Social Security number. What was once a simple administrative number is now an antiquated form of national identification that has become dangerously risky to use in the digital age. It wasn’t...

H.R. McMaster and Donald Trump: A Partnership That Was Never Meant To Be

March 19, 2018 Herbert R. McMaster is the ideal National Security Advisor—for any administration but this one. In some ways, McMaster seemed perfect: He’s a decorated general with a history of winning big battles (paywall). He is also known for successfully challenging groupthink and for taking chances that pay off. Unfortunately, the qualities...

The Agonizing Trade-Offs That Must Be Made to Reduce Bias in the Hiring Process

August 23, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Like many economists, I try to form opinions on the economy based on research and data, rather than anecdotes. And like many economists, I worry that occupational licenses do more harm than good. Obtaining a license requires people to take part in training and pay fees in order to work...

Donald Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Won’t Work While He’s President

December 5, 2016 One of the first rules you learn in economics is there is no free lunch. But for the last several years many economists made an exception when it came to infrastructure spending. Interest rates have been so low that the potential long-term national economic benefit from improving US infrastructure, such...

What a Trump Victory Means For Your Retirement

November 10, 2016 We are now in an uncertain world, and the markets are reacting accordingly. Dow futures fell 800 points overnight as the US presidential election was called for Donald Trump. But the markets quickly calmed themselves and then some; on the day after Election Day, the blue-chip index touched an all-time...

Is the Collapse of Productivity in the Developed World Really Close at Hand?

October 27, 2016 The developed world may be facing another Malthusian moment. The first came at the end of the 18th century, when Thomas Malthus predicted dire consequences for humanity if population trends continued on their trajectory. But along came something no one predicted: technology that helped humans use resources more efficiently and...