Wolfers to contribute to New York Times politics and policy website The Upshot

April 22, 2014

Professor of Public Policy Justin Wolfers will be a regular contributor to the New York Times venture The Upshot, which launched on April 22. Per the New York Times release, "the goal of [The Upshot] is to help readers better navigate the news using data, graphics and technology."

Wolfers' first column, "What Good Marathons and Bad Investments Have in Common," looks at the relationship between marathon goal setting and bad economic decision making.

Wolfers notes that there's a surge of runners who push to finish marathons in 2:59 or 3:59 compared to 3:01 or 4:01. But the same loss-aversion impulse, he suggests, can drive bad economic decisions, leading many workers "to readily accept a decline in the purchasing power of their wages when it's caused by inflation, but to reject a similar real wage decline during a period of low inflation, even when doing so could help them keep their jobs. One result is that particularly during periods of low inflation, struggling businesses find it cheaper to fire existing workers and hire their replacements at a lower wage than to try to negotiate a pay cut."

Wolfers advises readers to "Treat your economic life like a marathon, not a sprint, but focus on the goals that really matter — economic security for your family — rather than on arbitrary round numbers."

Professor Wolfers is an expert on labor and macroeconomics, economics of the family, social policy, political economy, and behavior economics. He is also a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. You can follow him on twitter @JustinWolfers. Readers can follow The Upshot at Facebook.com/upshot and @UpshotNYT on Twitter.