How Much Money Do People Have?


One of the key takeaways – MBAs have the highest net worth of all higher educational degrees, while doctors and dentists have the most cash (and debt).

On average, young professional men and women both have positive net worth. However, there is a large gap in net worth between men and women. Men have more than double the net worth of women, averaging $12,188 compared to the female average of $5,541.

Overall, men and women have similar cash balances: $9,512 for women and $9,565 for men. Women hold more money in their savings accounts than men, who keep more in their checking accounts. Are women more conservative with their cash?

The complete article


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Most Dangerous Countries for American Tourists


This needull looks at data to ascertain the most dangerous countries for American tourists. The data that has been used for the analysis is number of deaths of Americans abroad and number of travel warnings issued by the US.

Mexico tops the list with 28 warnings in an 8-year period. It’s worth noting that these warnings are regionally specific, targeting sites where crime syndicates are particularly active. Popular tourist destinations like Mexico City and the Yucatán peninsula (including Cancún) are generally regarded as safe.

Most other countries on this ranking are participants in ongoing international conflicts (e.g., Israel, Pakistan, Afghanistan), or are sites in which extremist groups regularly carry out terrorist attacks (e.g., Mali, Nigeria, Syria).

North Korea is an interesting exception, as the government itself presents a danger to American travelers. According to the State Department, foreigners are liable to be jailed for unspecified reasons, or for seemingly innocuous infractions like interacting with the locals or taking unauthorized photos. 

The complete article


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How A Lawsuit Over Hot Coffee Helped Erode the 7th Amendment


Another insightful article by Priceonomics on supposedly frivolous law suits in the US.

In 1992, an elderly woman in New Mexico bought coffee at a McDonald’s drive through, spilled it on herself, and successfully sued for nearly $3 million.

This story is the poster child for the absurdity of the American legal system. Nearly every late night comic has a bit about suing over hot coffee. In a Seinfeld episode, Kramer burns himself while hiding coffee in his pants as he enters a movie theater. “You’re gonna walk out of [the courtroom] a rich man,” his lawyer tells him confidently as they prepare to sue the coffee shop.

The anecdote is also popular with politicians. “We’re a litigious society,” George Bush told supporters while advocating for legislation to curtail frivolous lawsuits. “But there have to be limits.”

There’s just one problem: the story is incredibly distorted. The elderly New Mexico resident, Stella Liebeck, was not greedy and her lawsuit was not frivolous. In fact, it’s an example of America’s civil justice system working as intended.

The complete article

Alex Mayyasi

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Why Is Interracial Marriage on the Rise?


I love Priceonomics blogs because they look at the detail. They trust data which more often than not surprises us with the implications. Today’s needull looks into depth at why interracial marriages are on the rise in the US.

Yet this rise is not necessarily a result of a change in attitudes about marrying across racial/ethnic lines. Much of it is just math. There are now more Asians, Hispanics, and people of Other racial/ethnic backgrounds, and those groups have long been most likely to intermarry. 

Progress has been made, but significantly less than the raw numbers would make you think.

The complete article

Priceonomics — Dan Kopf

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The Comic Strip that Accidentally Created a Branch of Feminist Critical Theory


This is a very interesting article I found on Pricenomics.

“I only go to a movie if it satisfies three basic requirements.

One, it has to have at least two women in it, who,

two, talk to each other about,

three, something besides a man.”

The complete article


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The Ad Campaign that Convinced Americans to Pay for Water

If we look around, we are sure to find absolutely useless things that we bought once and have no use for them now. And there are also stuff that even when we can get free or very cheap, we pay a premium price for. In India, bottled water makes sense because of the poor quality of the public supply of water. But in developed countries like the US, the success of such a product is pure marketing.

Perrier’s advertising was selling a specific message, and it targeted a specific population: well-to-do baby boomers, born between 1945 and 1965, as they entered adulthood. It sought to assure them that those who partook of Perrier’s sparkling waters were sophisticated, classy, and conscientious. It conferred, in a word, status.

The complete article

Priceonomics blog 

How Breakfast Became a Thing

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We all believe this and never question it. But, just like DeBeers made diamond ring almost synonymous with wedding ring,  the cereal companies made us completely believe in breakfast being the most important meal.

Today’s needull looks into something we take for granted and goes on to show how marketing campaigns can change something as fundamental as our eating habit.

Did the marketers and executives genuinely believe in the value of promoting a cereal breakfast as healthy? Nutritionists had debated back and forth for decades whether America’s increasingly desk-bound workforce needed a hearty breakfast. (Really we’ve never stopped.) But by the time of the 1944 campaign, during World War II, government nutritionists had sided with the pro-breakfast camp. In the interest of improving the health of army recruits, they teamed up with cereal companies to suggest that everyone eat a “good breakfast of whole-grain cereal and fruit.”

The complete article

Priceonomics — Alex Mayyasi