Five percent
Maximum potential inflation rate in 2021, according to Wharton Russell E. Palmer Finance Professor Jeremy Siegel

As part of the Fast Forward video series featuring faculty examining what’s ahead in the second year of COVID-19, Siegel also predicted a “strong economy, strong stock market, and rising long-term bond interest rates.”


The Myth of Urban Flight

Two For Sale signs

Stories about city dwellers flocking to the suburbs during the COVID-19 pandemic have been persistent, but data on moving patterns shows that the stories largely aren’t true. While some cities have experienced small population losses, there isn’t much science to support the notion that metropolitan centers will begin to shrink after decades of growth spurred by young people.

“I think it’s possible that we’ll have a short-term shift in the demographic for a few years,” says Wharton assistant professor of real estate Jessie Handbury. “But I do think this is not going to be dramatic, and it’s not going to be a reversal of the trends that have been seen over the past 10 or so years.”

Many downtown businesses have boarded up, unable to survive the financial losses that have come with lockdowns, less foot traffic, and fewer customers. Urbanites have left because of job loss, or because they can work remotely and ride out the pandemic with family or take advantage of cheaper rents in the suburbs. And a small contingent left because they could; some wealthy families have temporarily relocated to their second homes.

Handbury says a small percentage of those who left cities won’t return, and the pandemic likely pushed them into a decision about moving that had been in the works for some time. But when the pandemic is over, she notes, new businesses will open and replace the ones that closed. “Once the businesses are back up and running and the uncertainty of demand has been resolved, you’ll see traditional college graduates come in and fill in the ranks behind those families that maybe have accelerated their moves out to the suburbs,” she says.

Handbury also dispels the myth about hordes of older empty nesters selling their suburban homes for smaller city digs. Again, that percentage is small and eclipsed by young people moving to cities. “But for those who did move downtown into cities — my in-laws are living in downtown Baltimore — life is pretty dull at the moment,” she says. “I wouldn’t be surprised if a decent number have been moving out to the suburbs to live near their grandkids and things like that. Those moves could also slow down over the next few years if there’s greater fear, particularly, of the disease and living in dense areas.”


“We’re losing out on the key economic opportunities and the parts of the economy where the wealth is being created today, primarily Wall Street and Silicon Valley.”

John W. Rogers Jr., founder, chairman, and co-CEO of Ariel Investments, one of the country’s oldest minority-led investment firms, joined Wharton management professor Stephanie Creary on her Leading Diversity at Work podcast series to discuss why board diversity matters.

42 percent
Percentage of Americans who live in a coastal shoreline county

How does the risk of sea-level rise affect home prices? According to new research from Wharton real estate professor Benjamin Keys and Wharton doctoral student Philip Mulder GRW22, home sales volumes have declined in Florida’s coastal areas, indicating that homebuyers are becoming concerned about sea-level rise. However, declines in home prices have lagged, suggesting that sellers have been unwilling to cut their prices and may be less worried.


“While direct listings and SPAC mergers have been offered as alternative solutions for private companies to go public, the right answer for most companies is to fix the IPO process.”

Illustration of a wrench and screwdriver

David Erickson, a senior finance fellow at Wharton and co-director of the School’s Stevens Center for Innovation in Finance, offers ways to make the IPO process more appealing in an opinion piece for Knowledge@Wharton. One solution: revisiting the time between when a company files its registration statement and when it can price its offering. Erickson says a shorter period would still allow companies to achieve the level of disclosure the SEC requires.


Illustration of the dollar amount 4.8 billion and coins

Amount raised through 2019 for funds that invest in gender-diverse teams and generate positive impacts on women

That total is up from $2.2 billion raised through 2018 and $1.1 billion through 2017, according to “Project Sage 3.0.” The report, which focuses on gender-lens investing through venture capital, private equity, and private debt, was authored by Sandi M. Hunt, managing director of the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, and Suzanne Biegel, founder of consulting firm Catalyst at Large.


(Illustrations: “For Sale” signs — Feverpitched; Tools — FrankRamspott; Coins — Kittisak_Taramas)

Published as “Data Interpreted” in the Spring/Summer 2021 issue of  Wharton Magazine.