• Senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute

• Award-winning columnist at Bloomberg Opinion

• Author of 'An Economist Walks into a Brothel' and host of the podcast Risk Talking

"A must-read for anyone seeking to command, to govern, or to teach."

–General Stanley McChrystal, NY Times Bestselling author of Team of Teams


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Allison Schrager is an economist, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, contributing editor at City Journal, and co-founder of LifeCycle Finance Partners, LLC, a risk advisory firm. She is the author of An Economist Walks into a Brothel: And Other Unexpected Places to Understand Risk. She is the host of the podcast Risk Talking where she interviews leading economists, business journalists, and historians, exploring their work in an effort to understand what’s happening in the marketplace today.

Allison diversified her career by working in finance, policy, and media. She led retirement product innovation at Dimensional Fund Advisors and consulted to international organizations, including the OECD and IMF.

She has been a regular contributor to the Economist, Reuters, and Bloomberg Businessweek. Her writing has also appeared in Playboy, Wired, National Review and Foreign Affairs. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD in economics from Columbia University. She lives in New York City.

Speech topics

Be the Master of Your Domain: How to Take Risks in a Changing Economy

We get many conflicting messages about risk. We are told to avoid risk, other times we need to embrace risk head-on. We hear less about how to take smart, calculated risks. When we do this we can get more out of our lives and minimize the odds the worst will happen. There is a science to taking risk, it comes from the study of financial markets. The lessons from financial economics can help us take risks in any aspect of our lives: in business, in our personal lives, how to make sense of politics and economics, or even what to have for dinner tonight.

The message of this talk is how to take the wisdom (and mistakes) from financial economics to take a more methodical approach to the risks we face. Allison draws on her financial expertise and time in the field with unusual risk takers.

Economic Outlook, Demographics and Retirement

By 2020, more than 25% of the world's population will be over age 65, many of them retired. How can we expect the economy to function when so many people are out of the labor force? what can we do to prepare and should we be worried? This talk offers a unique economic outlook that draws on trends in macro, finance, and technology.

Risk Management in a Low Yield World

Risk management has become much harder in the current economic climate. Risk managers, for both retail and institutional clients, must deal with two types of unknowns, risk (what can be measured) and uncertainty (what you never saw coming). In the past these could be managed somewhat easily, hedging risk by investing in bonds. But the risk-free asset, bonds, offers a much lower return, which leaves pension managers with limited choices if they hope to meet their obligations: save more, take more risk, or hope bond yields rise again. To make matters worse, producing higher returns requires taking on more risk than ever before. How can we deal with so much risk and uncertainty? I’ll discuss what we can learn about risk management in an uncertain environment from people in other industries, military generals to big wave surfers. Stepping outside our world and recasting the problems we face in a new way, helps us gain insight into the problems we face and helps us better communicate the value of risk management.


An Economist Walks into a Brothel: And Other Unexpected Places to Understand Risk

Award-winning journalist and economist Allison Schrager introduces a new framework that will transform how we think about risk and make decisions in life

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