Holocaust Paradox: Long Lives for Those Who Survived

My elementary school teacher taught that those who emerged from the horrors of the camps would die young. A reasonable assumption, but wrong.

Sunday was Holocaust Remembrance Day, causing me to think about an assertion I heard from an elementary school teacher. She said that even those who survived the Holocaust were so debilitated that the rest of their lives would be short. As with many things I learned in elementary school, the reality is more complicated, and my 10-year-old self would be glad to know that my teacher was probably more wrong than right.

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One Small Step for Sensible Policymaking

Trump just signed a new law to help measure the effectiveness of government programs. That’s good, but not good enough.

The government had been shut for more than three weeks when President Donald Trump decided to strike a blow for sensible policymaking. (Go figure.) On Jan. 14, he signed the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act, legislation that aims to improve data analysis and program evaluation.

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Stimulus Worked in 2009. Next Time It’ll Have to Work Better.

Government spending and tax cuts kept the financial crisis from getting worse. They also taught fiscal-policy lessons the U.S. might need soon.

t’s been a decade since Congress approved a huge emergency package of spending projects, payments to individuals and tax cuts to stimulate a U.S. economy staggered by the 2008 recession. We know now that it worked, limiting the damage caused by the downturn and vindicating the idea that government spending during periods of economic weakness saves jobs and speeds recovery. We also know that it could have worked better.

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Medicare Advantage Is Curbing Opioid Abuse

The drug and medical program gives insurance companies an incentive to take into account the effects of prescription drugs on the cost of care.

Recent data show that drug overdose deaths in the U.S. were 10 percent higher in 2017 than 2016, with an almost 50 percent increase in those related to synthetic opioids. A new research paper points to a glimmer of hope in this otherwise bleak story: Medicare Advantage insurance companies seem to be doing a surprisingly good job at mitigating opioid abuse.

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One Book Explains the Rise of Globalization: It’s All in the Box

Container shipping standardized a chaotic industry and brought the world closer together.

At the top of my most interesting reads this year was Marc Levinson’s “The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger,” the second edition of which was published in 2016. The book tells the story of container shipping, which revolutionized international trade over the past 60 years.

How container shipping came to dominate global trade may not sound like a gripping read, but Levinson intersperses the story with colorful business characters like Malcom McLean and exacting operations researchers such as Foster Weldon. And the story itself is both historically important and also central to many of the ongoing debates still raging about globalization.

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Verdict Is In: Food Stamps Put Poor Kids on Path to Success

Long-term evidence starting in the 1960s now shows that government support in childhood reduces the need for welfare in adulthood.


Congress is expected to vote this week on a new farm bill, which includes changes to the food stamp program. Lawmakers should take the time to read up on recent research about the program’s effects. Innovative research has demonstrated convincingly that young children whose families receive food stamps benefit later in life.

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