Peter Arkle

Young alumni: Will you seize the day now, or in 30 years when you retire? Research suggests it would be better to consume more now. A paper published in the Journal of Mathematical Economics in March, co-authored by economics professor Marc Fleurbaey, quantified early death in terms of economic loss, and observed that inequalities between those who live a long life and those who die prematurely would be reduced if everyone spent a little more earlier in life.

Good luck — not good policies alone — might be the force behind some economic prosperity. Statistics show the U.S. economy has grown faster under Democratic presidents, but research by professors Alan Blinder ’67 and Mark Watson suggests that factors associated with luck explain about half of this performance gap. Their working paper, released in July, shows that fiscal and monetary policies don’t explain the Democrats’ edge. Factors such as oil prices and international economic performance seem to play a big role.