Brief—  2021 Q1 Status Of Older Workers Report

*Arrows reflect the change from the previous quarter’s data. All data represents the most recent numbers released by the BLS. Jobs lost statistic reflects the number of additional jobs older workers would hold if the pre-pandemic older worker EPOP held for the current 55+ population.

By Owen Davis, Bridget Fisher, Teresa Ghilarducci, and Siavash Radpour

  • Retirement Boom: At least 1.7 million more older workers than expected retired due to the pandemic recession. click
  • Retirement Inequality: At earlier ages, vulnerable older workers retired sooner, while more privileged workers delayed retirement. The share of retired workers among adults aged 55-64 rose 5% for those without a college education but fell 4% for those with a college degree.
  • Racial Inequality: Black workers without a college degree experienced the highest increase in the share who are retired before age 65. This rate rose 1.5 percentage points, from 16.4% to 17.9%, between 2019 and 2021.

Download the full report here and see the presentation here.

Since March 2020, the size of the retired population in the U.S. expanded beyond its normal trend by an additional 1.7 million people.1 Older workers faced more health risks and disproportionate job loss during the pandemic.2 Thus many older workers were pushed into unplanned retirement earlier than they would in a “normal” year. 

Who retired due to the pandemic? If we group all older adults together, regardless of race or education, the increase in retirement comes predominantly from those 65 and older. The share of adults who are retired rose 1.7 percentage points for those 65 and older, compared with 0.3 percentage points for ages 55 to 64. But grouping all older adults together masks differences between educational levels and racial demographics. 

Retirement Increased At All Ages For Those Without A College Degree

For older adults without a college degree, retirement increased for everyone over 55—not just those 65 and older. The retirement rate for non-college adults ages 55-64 rose 0.8 percentage points between 2019 and 2021, a 5% increase in the probability of adults in this group being retired. For non-college workers 65 and older, the retirement rate rose 1.1 percentage points between 2019 and 2021. 

Although older adults without college degrees retired in greater numbers, the typical worker in this group was not financially prepared for retirement before the pandemic. Older workers without a college degree had median household retirement savings of only $9,000 in 2019, compared to $167,000 for older working households with a college degree.3 Lack of retirement savings leaves non-college workers facing a higher risk of poverty and near-poverty in retirement, particularly if they are forced into an early, involuntary retirement. 

Retirement rose at all ages for workers without a college degree, despite their lack of retirement savings, because workers in this group face worse employment prospects than their college-educated counterparts. They have lower job security, and the jobs available to unemployed non-college workers are more likely to be physically demanding or low-paid.4 At the height of unemployment in April 2020, workers 55 to 64 without a college degree were 67% more likely to experience unemployment than college-educated older workers.5 High relative rates of job loss during the pandemic and poor employment prospects likely forced many older workers without college degrees into early and involuntary retirement.


College-Educated Workers Delayed Retirement at Earlier Ages, Increased Retirement At Older Ages

Retirement patterns for college-educated older adults diverged from those without a college degree. Adults ages 55 to 64 with a college degree were less likely to retire during Covid-19 compared to pre-pandemic, while those over age 65 were more likely to retire. The retirement rate for adults 55 to 64 with a college degree decreased from 16.4% to 15.8%, or a decrease of 4% in the probability of retirement—almost a mirror image of the 5% rise in the probability of retirement for non-college adults 55-64. 

Compared to older workers without a college degree, college-educated workers younger than 65 have better employment prospects and faced lower rates of job loss during the pandemic. Still, they may have lost income due to reduced hours or furloughs. This makes college-educated workers 55 to 64 more likely to delay retirement to make up for lost income. Recent polling shows nearly a quarter of workers 55 and older delayed retirement due to Covid-19 or expect to do so, with postponements almost twice as high for those who lost income.6

For college-educated workers 65 and older, the retirement rate increased by a substantial 3.2%, a result of both involuntary retirements driven by job loss and accelerated voluntary retirement. The older the worker, the greater the risk of unplanned retirement spurred by job loss. At the height of pandemic unemployment, college-educated workers 65 and older faced a 34% greater probability of unemployment than those aged 55 to 64.7 The increased retirement rate for educated workers ages 65 and over also reflects workers moving up their retirement dates due to the pandemic—as highlighted in recent news media reports focusing on retirement of professionals and affluent workers.8

Because college-educated workers have more retirement savings than those with less education, they can cope better with unplanned retirement. Yet not all older workers with a college degree had sufficient savings prior to the pandemic, and many will likely face downward mobility in older ages due to unplanned retirement. As a recent analysis in the New York Times by chief economist Jed Kolko documented, retirement during Covid-19 is better explained by job loss than retirement asset values.9


Pandemic Retirement Increased Racial Inequality

Black older workers were more likely to be pushed into retirement than white older workers. The retirement rate rose 1.5 percentage points for Black non-college workers 55-64, compared to 1.3 percentage points for whites. The probability of a Black adult aged 55-64 without a college degree being retired increased 9.2%, compared to an increase of 7.5% for white non-college adults.


Among college-educated workers, however, the effects of the pandemic on retirement by race are more nuanced. For whites, retirement trends for earlier versus later retirements align with the analysis presented above—workers younger than 65 delayed retirement while those over 65 retired faster compared to the pre-pandemic period.

For Black college-educated workers, however, retirement rates decreased at all ages despite experiencing higher unemployment rates than their white counterparts—they delayed retirement, even over age 65. College-educated Black workers 55-64 have better job prospects than non-college Black workers, allowing them to remain in the labor force longer. But they have substantially less wealth than white workers; Black workers with a college education have median retirement savings of $50,000, less than a quarter of white college-educated households’ $206,000.10 This means Black older workers are more likely to need earnings in old age. The racial wealth gap helps explain why white college-educated workers 65 and over retired in higher numbers during the pandemic, while the retirement rate decreased for Black college-educated workers at older ages. 

Policy Recommendations

Prohibit Age Discrimination

Without strict anti-discrimination laws and enforcement, older workers cannot compete for jobs. Several studies document the effectiveness of state and federal anti-discrimination laws in combating age discrimination and increasing employment of older workers.11 Yet the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protecting older workers from age discrimination was weakened by a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court Decision. Congress must strengthen the ADEA and ensure that any discrimination motivated by age is illegal. 

Extend and Increase Unemployment Benefits

Laid-off older workers experience longer spells of unemployment, contributing to why many give up looking for work and retire involuntarily.12 Increased unemployment benefits—more than the $300 a week set to expire in September 2021—can help older workers avoid dipping into their retirement savings and claiming Social Security early.

Lower Medicare Eligibility Age to 50 & Make Medicare First Payer

Lowering the Medicare age to 50 would ensure older, laid-off workers get the care they need. Moreover, making Medicare first payer—having it cover medical expenses before private insurance—would lower firms’ costs associated with providing health insurance to older workers. Reducing the health insurance cost of hiring older workers would help prevent involuntary retirements while increasing older workers’ health coverage.13

Expand Social Security

Increasing Social Security and instituting a minimum benefit will soften the blow for workers who are forced to retire before they are ready and prevent many from falling into poverty. Congress should expand Social Security benefits by $200 per month for everyone and increase the Special Minimum Benefit up to 125% of poverty levels.14

Create A Federal Older Workers Bureau

An Older Workers Bureau at the U.S. Department of Labor would formulate standards and policies to promote the welfare of older workers, improve their working conditions, and advance their opportunities for profitable employment.

For a Complete List of Policy Priorities...

For a complete 10-point list of policy priorities for the new presidential administration to consider, please see our November 2020 report, “A Policy Agenda for the Biden Administration: Protecting Older Workers & Strengthening Retirement Security.” 

Unemployment Rates

The headline unemployment rate (U-3) for workers ages 55 and older was 4.9% in April, up from 4.8% in March and down from a peak of 13.6% in April 2020. ReLab’s U-7 figure includes everyone in headline unemployment, plus marginally attached and discouraged workers, involuntary part-time workers, and the involuntarily retired (those who say they want a job but have not looked for over a year). U-7 decreased from a high of 23.5% in April to 11.4% in March. Both U-6 and U-7 declined as some older workers working part-time during the pandemic recession went back to their full-time schedules, while others completely detached themselves from the labor market after a year of not being able to find work.



Employment-to-Population Ratio

The employment-to-population ratio (EPOP) provides a broader view of the labor market than the basic unemployment rate. At times when large numbers of unemployed workers move frequently in and out of the labor force, the EPOP shifts the focus from unemployment and participation rates to the share of the population earning an income. In April EPOP slid for both older workers (55 and older) and mid-career workers (ages 35 to 54). The older worker EPOP was down 7.2% in April from its pre-pandemic level, compared to -6.9% in March.

Labor Force Participation

The labor force participation rate indicates the share of workers who are either employed or looking for a job. In April the older worker participation recovered slightly after continually declining since August 2020. The slight uptick in older workers’ unemployment rate, as noted above, is due in part to older workers returning to the labor force but failing to find jobs (i.e., moving from out of the labor force to unemployed). The older worker participation rate was down 4.8% relative to its pre-pandemic level in April. This is more than double the decline for mid-career workers, whose participation rate was down 1.9% in April relative to the pre-pandemic level for those workers. 



Technical Appendix

To determine the pre-pandemic retirement trend for Figure 1, we first calculate the retirement rate of adults 55 and over from January 2015 through April 2021, with the retirement rate defined as the share of people 55 and over who report their employment status as “retired” in the Current Population Survey (CPS). The trend is calculated using a linear regression of retirement rate on time for January 2015–February 2020. We then calculate the divergence in retirement rates as the difference between the actual retirement rate and the pre-pandemic trend for the entire sample period. We multiply this divergence in retirement rates by monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics 55+ population estimates to arrive at the divergence of age 55+ retirement levels from trend.

To explore how the pandemic changed retirement by education and race (Figures 2 and 3), we calculate the changes from 2019 to 2021 in the retirement rates of different demographic groups. Retirement rates are calculated as the share of each group listing their employment status as “retired,” according to CPS data. The retirement rate for 2019 is calculated as the full-year 2019 average. The 2021 retirement rate is the average of January–April retirement rates. 

Calculations of median retirement assets by demographic categories are derived from the Survey of Consumer Finances. Our measure of retirement assets is calculated based on households’ balances in all account-type retirement plans.


1. If the five-year 2015-2019 trend in retirement rates for adults 55 and over had held constant through March 2021, the population of adults 55 and older who are retired would be 1.7 million lower than it is now. An adult is defined as retired if they are not working, not looking for a job, and say they are retired in the Current Population Survey (CPS). See methodology in Technical Appendix.

2. Davis, O., Fisher, B., Ghilarducci, T., and Radpour, S. (2020). “A First in Nearly 50 Years, Older Workers Face Higher Unemployment than Mid-Career Workers.” Status of Older Workers Report Series. New York, NY. Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at The New School for Social Research.

3. SCEPA’s calculations based on Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). Older working households are defined as households with at least one worker ages 55 to 65. College educated households have at least one spouse with a college, professional, or graduate degree. 

4. Davis, O., Radpour, S., and Ghilarducci, T. (2020) “Chartbook: Retirement Insecurity and Falling Bargaining Power Among Older Workers.” Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis, The New School for Social Research.

5. This statistic reflects the percent difference between age groups in unemployment rates in April 2020, calculated from CPS data. Not seasonally adjusted.

6.  Horowitz, J. M., Brown, A., and Minkin, R. (2021). “A Year Into the Pandemic, Long-Term Financial Impact Weighs Heavily on Many Americans.” Pew Research Center. Retrieved from

7. SCEPA calculations of CPS data. See note 5.

8. Tanzi, A. and Sasso, M. (2021, April 30). “Affluent Americans Rush to Retire in New ‘Life-Is-Short’ Mindset.” Bloomberg. Retrieved from

9. Kolko, Jed. (2021, May 12). “In Reversal, Retirements Increased During the Pandemic.” New York Times. Retrieved from

10. SCEPA’s calculations of SCF data. Households’ race is defined based on the race reported by the respondent. See note 3.

11. Neumark, David and Joanne Song. (2013). “Do Stronger Age Discrimination Laws Make Social Security Reforms More Effective?” Journal of Public Economics 108: 1–16. Retrieved from w17467 13. McLaughlin, Joanne Song. (2019). “Age Discrimination Laws, Physical Challenges, and Work Accommodations for Older Adults.” Generations 43:3: 59–62. Retrieved from

12. Retirement Equity Lab. (2020). “Older Workers Know They Face An Unfriendly Labor Market.” Status of Older Workers Report Series. New York, NY. Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at The New School for Social Research.

13. Ghilarducci, T. (2020). The time is now to lower the Medicare age to 50. Forbes. Retrieved from

14. Radpour, S., Ghilarducci, T., and Webb, A. (2020). “Expanding Social Security Benefits All Workers.” Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis and Department of Economics, The New School for Social Research, Policy Note Series. 

Suggested Citation: Davis, O., Fisher, B., Ghilarducci, T., and Radpour, S. (2021). “The Pandemic Retirement Surge Increased Retirement Inequality.” Status of Older Workers Report Series. New York, NY. Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at The New School for Social Research.

Looming over the nation’s workers and their families is the dread of not having enough money in retirement. This dread has been hastened by the calamity of the 2020 recession as those without retirement coverage at work lost one more year of savings and were left out of the stock market boom. 


States have been addressing the problem while the federal government fails to act. And now, New York City is the second city (after Seattle) to help its private sector workers save for retirement.  At the end of April, the New York City Council took a bold step and approved a city-sponsored retirement plan for private-sector employees who do not have retirement coverage at work, creating the city’s first ‘auto-IRA’ (individual retirement account). SCEPA’s Retirement Equity Lab, which testified in support of the policy, estimated the New York auto IRA plan will provide coverage to 2.8 million city workers that today have none. 

Mayor de Blasio signed the bill into law last week. The city’s auto-IRA program will require employers with more than five employees to automatically deduct a percentage of their workers’ pay and forward it to city-facilitated, not-for-profit IRAs. Employers with less than five employees who want to participate can join voluntarily, as can the self employed and gig workers. A person’s auto IRA account will be individually owned and professionally managed, and administered by an independent board headed by city-appointed trustees. While employers are required to participate, employees would have the right to change their contribution rates or opt-out of the program. The plan is also portable; participants can maintain their accounts when they change jobs. 

The Retirement Crisis in New York City 

At The New School’s ReLab, we have been keeping statistics on how many New York workers don’t have workplace retirement plans. It is shocking that just 35 percent do. The retirement plan coverage rate has been falling to the point that we are at the lowest rate recorded for the city since the U.S. Census Bureau began tracking coverage in 1980. And the lack of coverage is worse for non-whites. Only 33 percent of Black workers, 27 percent of Asian, and 26 percent of Hispanic workers in New York City are covered. Not even the top income groups have 100% coverage, and just 25 percent of workers in the bottom half of the income distribution have a retirement plan.  


Without action, by 2026, as many as 825,000 middle class workers in New York State (half of which live in the city) nearing retirement today could be at risk of poverty when they retire. 


City and State Efforts Push Need for Federal Reform

Counting Ne York City’s new bill, there are now 15 enacted retirement savings programs (13 states and 2 cities) for private sector workers. The rapid-fire pace of reform efforts at the state and local level is a reflection of both the need for retirement coverage and the political will to act.  Federal action is needed, but in the meantime New York City’s auto IRA plan (along with state and local efforts across the country) help workers save now.  

The need and demand can be seen in New York State’s response to New York City’s bill. Both have now enacted auto-IRA plans for private sector workers, but the city’s version  is stronger than the state’s, requiring employers to participate rather than making it voluntary.  The state’s model is basically the system we have now, and it doesn’t work. (For a full discussion of the various models and an analysis of the policies’ strengths and weaknesses, please see SCEPA’s report, “State Retirement Reform: Lifting Up Best Practices”) In response to the city’s passage, a bill has already passed in the state assembly to bolster its law to include required participation by employers. 

New York City’s stronger model is backed by evidence showing that states that mandate employer participation work best. Oregon’s auto-IRA has enrolled over 100,000 workers in just 2 years and saved $25 million. Only open since January of 2019, Illinois’ program has enrolled more than 24,000 workers, helping them save more than $5 million. 

The New York City plan helps employers too. Small business owners beg their employees to save. Lide Sementilli, general manager at Total Care Pharmacy in the Bronx, was quoted by CBS news saying, “I tell my employees all the time, I say, ‘Look, you should try to save your money.” Now Sementilli’s five employees will get some help when the Mayor signs the City Council legislation mandating IRAs for small businesses like Sementilli’s. Small businesses want to do the right thing by their workers, but they have a hard time doing so if they are the only ones. The city requires all employers to join and saves small businesses from the paperwork and uncertainty of commercial 401(k) brokers, challenges documented by the Pew Charitable Trust.

These state and local policies reverse the slow retrenchment of U.S. policy to support workers through retirement coverage that Yale professor Jacob Hacker has warned us about. The New York City step is a step in the right direction until the Federal Government mandates all employers to provide a plan and the nation’s workforce and employers don’t have to wade through different state and city programs.

In a presentation to the Paraja Valley Saves Lives Coalition, SCEPA Director Teresa Ghilarducci describes how Covid-19 is accelerating gaps in race, income and gender inequality and has created new ones in employment, education, and life expectancy. See the full presentation here



Economists describe inequality of job loss as a K-shaped recession. In a K-shaped recession, the top segment of society climbs back upward while another segment continues to suffer.  A graph of economic growth in this scenario would resemble two diverging diagonal lines of the letter "K." Peter Atwater at The College of William and Mary calls a K-shaped recovery, “Stacked inequity on one side and stacked privilege on the other.”

As a result of the pandemic recession, employment gains experienced by non-white workers from 2009- 2019 nearly disappeared. Recessions force out marginal workers first, often called “last in-first out,” or LIFO. The Federal Reserve’s study of previous recessions show non-white workers and women lose more jobs as a share of their employment than white men in recessions. 

The Covid recession was even harsher on women, as so many had to leave the labor market in order to perform care work for their parents, children, other family members or all of the above. Ghilarducci points out the sad label given to the Covid-19 recession, the “she-cession.”  Additionally, women lost more jobs than men in the Covid-19 recession. To bring women back to the labor market and recover their losses, she argues for expanding school days and a more equal division of care work between genders.


Covid-19 policies caused deep inequalities at school. The effects of school closures during the Covid-19 pandemic was studied by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, Yale, and Northwestern. Students from poor neighborhoods suffer great losses, whereas children from rich neighborhoods remain unscathed. Differences in the quality of schools, the income levels of peers, and how equipped parents are to help all contribute to growing educational inequality during the pandemic. Ghilarducci says, if schools had to be closed, we could have considered supplying extra resources to the children of essential workers, as well as compensating schools more in lower income areas based on their needs. 

Life Expectancy 

Researchers found Covid-19 will reduce U.S. life expectancy in 2020 by 1.13 years, but Black and Latino populations are estimated to see life expectancy rates decrease by 3 to 4 times that of whites. Theresa Andrasfay and Noreen Goldman from the University of Southern California and Princeton University report that Covid-19 caused a disproportionate number of deaths among the Black and Latino populations. According to Rogelio Sáenz at the University of Texas at San Antonio and Marc A. Garcia at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, “Covid-19 is expected to reverse over 10 years of progress made in closing the Black−White gap in life expectancy and reduce the previous Latino mortality advantage by over 70%.” 

Life expectancy is expected to continue dropping due to persisting Covid-19 mortality and the long-term health, political, social, and economic impacts of the pandemic. For example, survivors suffering lasting effects from the virus can face disabilities, including long-term neurological disability that requires expensive medical care.


Ghilarducci notes that some policies implemented in response to the pandemic were beneficial, such as moratoriums on evictions that saved lives and helped stem inequality. “Housing precarity policies that prevent eviction and utility disconnections have been effective mechanisms for decreasing both Covid-19 infections and deaths,” according to five Duke researchers. However, these could have been more effective if implemented nationwide. If a federal eviction moratorium had been in place from early March 2020 through the end of November 2020, Covid-19 infections would have decreased by 14.2% and deaths by 40.7%. Utility disconnection moratoriums would have reduced Covid-19 infections rates by 8.7% and deaths by 14.8%. 


Wealth inequality was reduced due to lower-income people using their stimulus checks to pay off debt. The New York Federal Reserve found that people who are non-white, without a college degree, in lower-income households, and in households experiencing negative employment shocks or income drops since the start of the pandemic are more likely to use substantially larger shares of their economic impact payments to pay down debt.

  2020 Q3 Status Of Older Workers Report

*The 1.4 million older workers still unemployed since April does not include workers who were unemployed in April and have since left the labor force. Arrows reflect the change from the previous period’s data. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and SCEPA calculations based on Current Population Survery (CPS) data.

  • Unemployment Gap Flips: Unemployment rates for workers 55 and older exceeded those of mid-career workers for the length of the pandemic — the first time since 1973 such an unemployment gap has persisted for six months or
  • Slower Recovery For Older Workers: Older workers lost jobs faster and returned to work slower than mid-career workers, creating an unemployment gap of 1.1 percentage points between older workers’ six-month average unemployment rate of 9.7% and mid-career workers’ rate of 8.6%.
  • Inequality in Recovery: Older workers who are Black, female, or lack a college degree experienced higher rates of job loss and are more exposed to retirement risks.
  • Policy Recommendations: High and persistent unemployment, compounded by the health risks of Covid-19, threatens the retirement security of older workers. Congress needs to increase and extend unemployment benefits for older workers, discourage withdrawals from 401(k)s and IRAs, lower Medicare eligibility to 50, and create a federal Older Workers Bureau.

Download the full report here.


 2020 Q2 Status Of Older Workers Report

  • Millions Pushed Out of the Workforce: 2.9 million older workers left the labor force since March. These workers are at risk of having to retire involuntarily due to increased health risks coupled with decreased job
  • More Involuntary Retirements to Come: If the rate of labor force exits continues over the next three months, we expect an additional 1.1 million older workers to leave the labor force, adding to the 2.9 million who already left. A total of 4 million people potentially pushed into retirement before they are ready will increase old-age poverty and exacerbate the recession.
  • Policy Recommendations: Congress should increase and extend unemployment benefits for older workers, discourage withdrawals from 401(k)s and IRAs, lower Medicare eligibility to 50, and create a Federal Older Workers Bureau.

Download the full report here. 


2.9 Million Older Workers Left the Labor Force Since March

 2020 Q1 Status Of Older Workers Report

  • Increased Downward Mobility At All Earnings Levels: An additional 3.1 million older workers will fall into lifelong poverty in retirement. Overall, the 67 million older workers and their spouses in the U.S. will suffer a decrease of 7 percentage points in their retirement replacement
  • Middle Earners Hit Twice: Middle earners sustain both job loss and market loss, leading to an additional 1.1 million older workers falling from the middle class into poverty.
  • Policy Recommendations: Older workers were left out of the government response to the COVID-19 recession. In the short term, Congress should discourage early retirement withdrawals and increase and extend unemployment benefits for older workers. The recession exposes the need for comprehensive reform: expanding Social Security and creating a public option retirement plan in the form of Guaranteed Retirement Accounts.

Download the full report here. 


All Earnings Levels: Increased Poverty

This is a transcipt of a keynote orignally presented at the Association of Social Economic's 2020 ASSA Reception.


(Photo by: Martha Susana Jaimes)


The Gray New Deal: General Theory of Employment, Retirement, and Money

Teresa Ghilarducci

Keynote for the Association Social Economics’ ASSA Reception

January 2 6:30 pm

San Diego ASSA


Over the last thirty years, we have witnessed a doomsday for pensions. The vast majority of the ten thousand baby boomers turning 65 every day do not have enough income to maintain their standard of living. For the first time in modern history, the American elderly will be relatively worse off than their parents and grandparents. If nothing happens, almost half of middle-class workers over 50 will be poor or near-poor retirees by 2030. Many will turn to work—any kind of work. The failing do-it-yourself American pension system is causing the coming humanitarian and political crises and a deep disturbance in labor markets.  

There are two policy tracks addressing the coming old-age income crises. One track fights age discrimination, promotes job retraining, extolls the benefits of paid work and does not prioritize securing retirement income.

The other track is a Gray New Deal. A Gray New Deal recognizes that civilized democratic societies provide adequate pensions, allowing people to retire in dignity.

A Gray New Deal competes with what I call the “working longer consensus.” Doubtless members of the Association of Social Economics remember the 1980s global economic policy framework, the Washington Consensus, which promoted pro-market, pro-austerity policies. The Washington Consensus was so named because it came from Washington, D.C.-based institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and the U.S. Treasury and was supported by academics.