Jay Zagorsky

Senior Lecturer, Markets, Public Policy, and Law

I am a cross-disciplinary researcher who has spent over two decades of researching a wide variety of personal wealth topics. I try to explain why some people become rich, others are poor and some move between these two states. I am currently synthesizing this research into a book that presents the results of my academic research and other wealth researchers in an accessible format.

Much of my wealth research is based on data gathered from the National Longitudinal Surveys (NLS). These surveys have followed thousands of people from the time they were teenagers until the ends of their lives. I served at Ohio State University for 23 years as the survey’s Research Scientist. Beyond my wealth research, I worked as a big data scientist who investigated numerous issues in education for the Ohio Educational Research Center (OERC).

For a number of years in addition to my academic research I have written shorter more popular pieces for magazines, newspapers and websites. I am a writer and columnist for TheConversation.com, an edited website where paid professional journalists work with academics to deliver news and analysis. I am one of the most prolific writer for TheConversation’s U.S. edition, with 107 articles. My articles written for this website have been read by over 5 million people. These articles have been widely republished in places like the Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, Newsweek as well as online in sites like Quartz and Salon. In addition I maintain personal blogs at both Ohio State and Boston University that receive extensive traffic.

Beyond my writing for TheConversation I have published articles in the Wall Street Journal, CNN, The Boston Globe, Fast Company and other outlets like The Academic Minute. I have also done an extremely large number of interviews, radio talk shows and television appearances about my academic research, with a search using Google News showing thousands of mentions.

Last,, I have taught extensively in both business and liberal arts colleges. My lectures cover a wide variety of economics, statistics, quantitative methods and information system topics. I have taught over 100 full-semester university courses and graded 7,000 college students in classes ranging from giant lectures of over 450 students to small seminars. In addition, I have taught numerous short classes on specialized topics. All my teaching has been rewarded by consistently excellent evaluations and a number of awards. I have also written two textbooks, both as the sole author. One textbook is on macroeconomics and the other is on public data useful for extending computer information systems.

    Education
  • PhD, Boston University, 1992
  • MA, Boston University, 1987
  • BA, Brandeis University, 1983
    Publications
  • Zagorsky, J. (2021). "El Salvador is making bitcoin ‘legal tender’ — but don’t expect the dollar to disappear there", MarketWatch
  • Zagorsky, J. (2021). "COVID-19 recession: One of America’s deepest downturns was also its shortest after bailout-driven bounceback", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2020). "What Congress got wrong about calculating the unemployment insurance benefit", CNN
  • Zagorsky, J., Smith, P. (2020). "Who drinks soda pop? Economic status and adult consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.", Econ Hum Biol, 38 100888-
  • Zagorsky, J. (2020). "The case for keeping coins around in the United States", CNN
  • Zagorsky, J. (2020). "Poorest Americans drink a lot more sugary drinks than the richest – which is why soda taxes could help reduce gaping health inequalities", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2020). "Why are so many people lighting off fireworks?", TheConversation & Popular Science
  • Zagorsky, J. (2020). "The flowers you buy your mom for Mother’s Day may be tied to the US war on drugs", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2020). "Coronavirus unemployment at nearly 15% is still shy of the record high reached during the Great Depression", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2020). "How high will unemployment go? During the Great Depression, 1 in 4 Americans were out of work", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2020). "There's plenty of toilet paper - so why are people hoarding it?", TheConversation.com; Business Insider; Snopes; Channel News Asia
  • Zagorsky, J. (2020). "Coronavirus: A simple way to keep workers - and the economy - from getting sick", TheConversation.com & Marketwatch
  • Zagorsky, J. (2020). "How Prohibition changed the way Americans drink, 100 years ago", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2019). "Why are so few people born on Christmas Day, New Year's and other holidays?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2019). "How to pick the "right" amount to spend on holiday gifts - according to an economist", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2019). "Half a billion on Halloween pet costumes is latest sign of America's out-of-control consumerism", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2019). "Wall Street is ignoring the omens of recession - here's why", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2019). "Why would anyone want to sit on a plane for over 18 hours? An economist takes the world's longest flight", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2019). "'Avengers: Endgame' is nowhere near the worldwide box office record - here's why", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2019). "Thanks, 'Avengers: Endgame,' for reminding us why inflation matters", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2019). "Facebook claims Libra offers economic empowerment to billions - an economist is skeptical", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2019). "No, Americans shouldn't fear traveling abroad", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2019). "A country can never be too rich, too beautiful or too full of people", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2019). "Is doing your taxes making you crazy? Here's why it shouldn't", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2019). "Rise and fall of the landline: 143 years of telephones becoming more accessible - and smart", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2019). "How electric cars could make America's crumbling roads even worse", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2019). "Les fonctionnaires americains se serrent la ceinture pendant que Trump offre des hamburgers", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2019). "Federal workers begin to feel pain of shutdown as 800,000 lose their paychecks", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J., Smith, P. (2018). "You can probably eat more Christmas cookies than you think - just take a look at the calorie guidelines", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2018). "An economist talks turkey: 5 facts about Thanksgiving pricing", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2018). "Trump's tariffs don't apply to American flag imports from China - but they should", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2018). "Got the winning lottery ticket? An economist explains what to do with all that money", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2018). "How winning $1.54 billion in Mega Millions could still lead to bankruptcy", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2018). "Why the unemployment rate will never get to zero percent - but it could still go a lot lower", TheConversation
  • Smith, P., Zagorsky, J. (2018). "“Do I look fat?” Self-perceived body weight and labor market outcomes", Economics & Human Biology, 30 48-58
  • Zagorsky, J. (2018). "¿Quiere ahorrar en sus viajes? Piense como un economista", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2018). "Save money when traveling abroad by thinking like an economist", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2018). "The Curse of Cash, by Kenneth S. Rogoff (Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 2016).", Economic Record, 94 342-343
  • Zagorsky, J. (2018). "I'm an economist riding a bike across America, defying what the data says about cycling's safety", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2018). "Does thinking you look fat affect how much money you earn?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2018). "Men suffer about 70 percent of fireworks injuries - and other 4th of July facts", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2018). "Market for illegal sports betting in US is not really a $150 billion business", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2018). "What is full employment? An economist explains the latest jobs data", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2018). "Should you insure that trip or TV? Here's what an economist would do", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2018). "How to deal with life's risks more rationally", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2018). "What is March Madness - and the nonprofit that manages the mayhem?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2018). "Why the global stock market crash doesn't really matter", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J., Mayhew, M., Rockenbach, A., Selznick, B. (2018). "Does college turn people into liberals?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2018). "Macron's pledge to wipe out coal is just as meaningless as Trump's plan to revive it", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2017). "Naughty or nice: Is there a financial reward for acting ethically?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2017). "GOP plan to tax college endowments like Yale's and Harvard's would be neither fair nor effective", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J., Smith, P. (2017). "The association between socioeconomic status and adult fast-food consumption in the U.S.", Economics & Human Biology, 27 12-25
  • Zagorsky, J. (2017). "Why Puerto Rico doesn't count to the US government", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2017). "In defense of cash: why we should bring back the $500 note and other big bills", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2017). "Economist who helped behavioral nudges go mainstream wins Nobel", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2017). "Are catastrophic disasters striking more often?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2017). "Have we forgotten the true meaning of Labor Day?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2017). "The penny may be worthless, but let's keep it anyway", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2017). "Thinking like an economist can make your next trip abroad cheaper", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2017). "How Trump's nominee for the Fed could turn central banking on its head", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2017). "America's dangerous love for pyrotechnics: 4 facts about fireworks", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J., Smith, P. (2017). "Do poor people eat more junk food than wealthier Americans?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2017). "Census director's resignation could affect control of Congress after 2020", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2017). "Would Trump's tax cut be the biggest ever? Fat chance", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2017). "How workers - not companies - are bearing the growing burden of government", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2017). "Why higher interest rates should make you happy", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2017). "Divergent Trends in US Maternity and Paternity Leave, 1994–2015", American Journal of Public Health, 107 460-465
  • Zagorsky, J. (2017). "Does it matter if Trump doesn't like economists?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2017). "Why Wall Street's Dow 20,000 is totally meaningless", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2017). "Paid family leave policies are expanding, but are new mothers actually taking time off?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2017). "Ethical behaviors and wealth: Generation Y’s experience", Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 28 181-195
  • Zagorsky, J. (2016). "How to get ready for the economic recession coming in 2017", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2016). "Have reports of Black Friday's death been greatly exaggerated?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2016). "Why does the price of turkeys fall just before Thanksgiving?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2016). "What Donald Trump's surprise victory means for the economy and business", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2016). "How to get the most candy on Halloween (without resorting to extortion)", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2016). "Why is taking photographs banned in many museums and historic places?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2016). "Eager for some good economic news? New census report has you covered", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2016). "Trump's economics speech: seeking conservative cred and kissing babies", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2016). "If cash is king, how can stores refuse to take your dollars?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2016). "Will Cleveland get an economic boost from Trump's GOP coronation?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2016). "Brexit backers claim U.K. is drowning in EU regulations - are Americans underwater too?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2016). "Weak jobs report shows we need a president with a plan, but it's too soon to panic", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2016). "Why are fewer people getting married?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2016). "What is Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's real crime?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J., Smith, P. (2016). "Does Asthma Impair Wealth Accumulation or Does Wealth Protect Against Asthma?*", Social Science Quarterly, 97 1070-1081
  • Zagorsky, J. (2016). "Could gambling be the secret to saving when rates are so low?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2016). "From Panama papers to Brazilian bribes: why corruption is so costly", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2016). "Are blondes actually dumb?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J., Cohen, J. (2016). "U.S. is a land of plenty, so why do millions of Americans still go hungry?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2016). "Will Republican tax plans make America great again?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2016). "How do we know the Zika virus will cost the world $3.5 billion?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2016). "How do we know if we're in a global recession?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2016). "Odds are $1.5 billion Powerball winner will end up bankrupt", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2016). "Outlook for 2016: middle-class woes, hopeful on wages, the fear factor", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2016). "Are blondes really dumb?", Economics Bulletin, 36 401-410
  • Zagorsky, J. (2015). "Latest Star Wars film may be biggest movie of all time - just not at the box office", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2015). "Fed interest rate hike may have less of an impact than you think", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2015). "Explainer: why does the price for turkeys fall just before Thanksgiving?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2015). Wealth and Weight. In Inas R, Kelly., John, Komlos. (Eds.), "Wealth and Weight", Oxford University Press
  • Zagorsky, J. (2015). "Why Google's plan to blanket wilderness with Wi-Fi is a bad idea", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2015). "Plain cigarette packaging: healthier citizens, sicker state finances?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J., Koppel, A. (2015). "L'impact economique du paquet de cigarettes neutre", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J., Koppel, A. (2015). "Uber et Frederic Bastiat", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2015). "The tale of Uber and a 19th-century French economist", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2015). "Explainer: why stocks fall when the Fed considers raising interest rates", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2015). "Are we overscheduling our kids from the moment they're born? The real 'labor' economics", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2015). "Three reasons why most of us shouldn't worry about the global stock market meltdown", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2015). "What do zombies, pandemics and the price of eggs have in common?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2015). "Why you shouldn't fear your finances (you're probably richer than you think)", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2015). "Is it time to ban all individuals from shooting off fireworks?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2015). "A cautionary tale of what happens when a country like Greece closes its banks", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2015). "Jeb Bush promises 4% growth. Could 'President Bush III' deliver?", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2015). "Past minimum wage gains make LA's $6 hike appear rather puny", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2015). "OMG! Proms are actually getting cheaper compared with the price of everything else", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2015). "Why the NFL and other professional sports don't deserve nonprofit status", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2015). "Why most of us procrastinate in filing our taxes - and why it doesn't make any sense", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2015). "Hard evidence: why pump prices haven't fallen as fast as oil has", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2015). "Cops may feel biggest impact from driverless car revolution", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2015). "Why we should get rid of tipping", TheConversation
  • Zagorsky, J. (2013). "Do People Save or Spend Their Inheritances? Understanding What Happens to Inherited Wealth", Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 34 64-76
  • Zagorsky, J. (2012). "Business Macroeconomics",
  • Zagorsky, J., Smith, P. (2011). "The Freshman 15: A Critical Time for Obesity Intervention or Media Myth?", Social Science Quarterly
  • Zagorsky, J. (2010). Native Americans' wealth. In Ngina, Chiteji., Jessica, Nembhard. (Eds.), "Wealth Accumulation in Communities of Color in the United States", University Michigan Press 133-154
  • Zagorsky, J., Smith, P. (2009). "Does the U.S. Food Stamp Program contribute to adult weight gain?", Economics & Human Biology, 7 246-258
  • Marks, S., Samuelson, W. (2009). "Managerial Economics", John Wiley & Sons Inc
  • Galizzi, M., Zagorsky, J. (2009). "How do on-the-job injuries and illnesses impact wealth?", Labour Economics, 16 26-36
  • Zagorsky, J., Rhoton, P. (2008). "The Effects of Promised Monetary Incentives on Attrition in a Long-Term Panel Survey", Public Opinion Quarterly, 72 502-513
  • Zagorsky, J. (2007). "Do you have to be smart to be rich? The impact of IQ on wealth, income and financial distress", Intelligence, 35 489-501
  • Zagorsky, J. (2005). "Marriage and divorce's impact on wealth", Journal of Sociology, 41 406-424
  • Zagorsky, J. (2005). "Health and wealth", Economics & Human Biology, 3 296-313
  • Zagorsky, J. (2005). "How Families Really Manage Their Wealth", Wealth Management, 8 11-18
  • Zagorsky, J. (2004). "The wealth effects of smoking", Tobacco Control, 13 370-374
  • Zagorsky, J. (2004). "Does Smoking Harm Wealth As Much As Health?", Consumer Interests Annual, 50 108-116
  • Zagorsky, J. (2004). "Is Obesity as Dangerous to Your Wealth as to Your Health?", Research on Aging: an international bimonthly journal, 26 130-152
  • Zagorsky, J. (2004). "Measuring poverty using both income and wealth", Journal of Income Distribution, 13 22-40
  • Zagorsky, J. (2003). "Husbands’ and wives’ view of the family finances", Journal of Socio-Economics, 32 127-146
  • Zagorsky, J. (2002). "Business Information: Finding and Using Data in the Digital Age",
  • Lang, K., Zagorsky, J. (2001). "Does growing up with a parent absent really hurt?", Journal of Human Resources, 36 253-273
  • Zagorsky, J. (2000). "Do individuals know how much they are worth?", Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 11 13-27
  • Zagorsky, J. (1999). "Health and the Working Poor", Eastern Economic Journal, 25 (2), 169-189
  • Zagorsky, J. (1999). "Young baby boomers’ wealth", Review of Income and Wealth, 45 135-156
  • Lang, K., Zagorsky, J. (1998). "Why are Canadian and US unemployment rates so highly correlated?", Canadian Public Policy, 24
  • Zagorsky, J. (1998). "Job vacancies in the United States: 1923 to 1994", Review of Economics and Statistics, 80 338-344
  • Zagorsky, J. (1998). "Was depression era unemployment really less in Canada than the U.S.?", Economics Letters, 61 125-131
  • Zagorsky, J., Gardecki, R. (1998). "What have researchers learned from the national longitudinal surveys?", Journal of Economic and Social Measurement, 25 35-57
  • Zagorsky, J. (1997). "E-Mail, Computer Usage and College Students: A Case Study", Education, 118 (1)
  • Zagorsky, J. (1996). "The Effect of Definitional Differences on U.S. and Canadian Unemployment Rates", Canadian Business Economics, Winter (1996), 13-21
  • Zagorsky, J. (1994). "Stock market data, vacancies and sectoral dispersion", Journal of Macroeconomics, 16 509-521
  • Zagorsky, J. (1993). "Understanding the Economic Factors Affecting Help-Wanted Advertising", Journal of Advertising, 22 75-84
  • Zagorsky, J. (1993). "Analysis: Is Youth Unemployment Really a Problem?", Challenge, 36 61-62
  • Zagorsky, J. (1993). "Job vacancies in the United States and Canada", Journal of Economic and Social Measurement, 19 305-319
  • Zagorsky, J. (1983). "Real time graphics with an array processor", Digital Design, 4
    Awards and Honors
  • 2020, 5 million readers
  • 2019, 3 Million Readers, TheConversation
  • 2017, Questrom School of Business Favorite Professor of the Year, Boston University
  • 2012, SMG: Cohort A Professor of the Year, Boston University