The post-holiday season is a time when many people look back at the memories that were made, and the money that was spent. According to behavioral economist Dan Ariely, many of the financial decisions made during this time and throughout the year, are based on instincts or emotions rather than value.

With the growth of popular technologies like taxi apps and mobile payments, Ariely argues people are also becoming increasingly distanced from the physical pain of spending which can be helpful for keeping unnecessary spending in check.

Construction worker.
Naoya Fujii / Flickr - Creative Commons

Nationally the number of people employed in middle-wage jobs rose by 6 percent between 2001 and 2015. But the numbers in North Carolina went in the other direction. 

Image of scholar William (Sandy) Darity
Duke University Sanford School School of Public Policy

Why are some people rich and others poor? Answering this elusive question has been the lifelong work of economist William (Sandy) Darity. Darity was an observant child, and from an early age he picked up on how wealth disparities divide communities. 

Duke professor William "Sandy" Darity studies the economics of social inequality.
@SandyDarity / Twitter

The term “social inequality” points to disparities in economics. 

But in reality, social inequality means inequities in many spheres: health, law, education and culture. Dissecting Inequality: Disparity and Difference in the 21st Century, a conference at Duke this week, explores the reasons for social inequality and the scientific approaches to addressing it.