Ben Casselman

New York, NY

Ben Casselman

Senior editor and chief economics writer for FiveThirtyEight. Previously covered economics and energy for The Wall Street Journal.


Shut Up About Harvard

It’s college admissions season, which means it’s time once again for the annual flood of stories that badly misrepresent what higher education looks like for most American students — and skew the public debate over everything from student debt to the purpose of college in the process. “How college admissions has turned into something akin to ‘The Hunger Games,’” screamed a Washington Post headline Monday.
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The Economic Guide To Picking A College Major

The millions of American college students heading back to campus this month face a grim reality: A college degree is no guarantee of economic success. But through their choice of major, they can take at least some steps toward boosting their odds. The link between education and earnings is notoriously fraught, with cause and effect often difficult to disentangle.
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Public Schools Are Hurting More in the Recovery Than in the Recession

The slow economic recovery is taking a toll on the nation’s public schools, reversing a multi-decade trend of increased funding and pushing student-teacher ratios to their highest levels since 2000. U.S. schools actually weathered the recession itself relatively well. State funding, which accounts for about 45 percent of school revenues on average, fell sharply during the downturn, while local spending, which accounts for roughly another 45 percent, mostly from property taxes, was essentially flat.
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Inequality in College Towns

Places with large populations of college students are notorious for strained “town-gown” relations brought on, at least in part, by the often vast gulf between wealthy students and less well-to-do locals. Think of Yale University, a fantastically rich institution in the middle of New Haven, Conn., one of the country’s poorest cities.
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More High School Grads Decide College Isn’t Worth It

As the U.S. economy improves, more high school graduates are choosing work over college. Just under 66 percent of the class of 2013 was enrolled in college last fall, the lowest share of new graduates since 2006 and the third decline in the past four years, according to data released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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Cost of Dropping Out

The Wall Street Journal. Link to Story


Ben Casselman

Ben Casselman serves as senior editor and chief economics writer for FiveThirtyEight, the definitive website for data-driven journalism. As senior editor, he oversees all economics and criminal justice coverage for the site.

As chief economics writer since FiveThirtyEight's relaunch in March 2014, he has used a mix of traditional reporting and original economic analysis to dive deep into subjects such as long-term unemployment, education, energy and entrepreneurship. His weekly "In Real Terms" column covers a wide range of topical issues in economics.

Prior to joining FiveThirtyEight, Casselman spent more than seven years as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, where he was most recently the paper's senior New York-based economics correspondent.

From 2008 to 2011, Casselman worked in the Journal's Dallas bureau, where he reported on the economic, environmental and political implications of the recent U.S. drilling boom, as well as on offshore drilling, global oil exploration and energy prices. His coverage of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in national reporting and won a Gerald Loeb Award. Previously, he wrote about residential real estate for the Journal's Weekend section.

A graduate of Columbia University, Casselman lives in New York.