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Better Life Lab

New America

Economists say the way we work has become so stressful it’s now the fifth leading cause of death. Our mission is to find a better way. Explore the art and science of living a full and healthy life with behavioral and social science researchers who can help us better understand what drives our human experiences, and how to change. Better Life Lab is a co-production from New America and Slate.

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It gets more intense every year — the drive to work longer and longer hours. And there’s striking new research that shows that women, who already get paid less than men, are put at a distinct disadvantage by an American job market that rewards overwork rather than performance.

In the final episode of season one of Better Life Lab, we hear from Youngjoo Cha, a sociologist at Indiana University and an expert on overwork and gender. Her research shows that, while the education gap is closing between men and women, overwork has all but cancelled out efforts to equalize the job market. In fact, the gender pay gap would have actually shrunk by 10 percent in recent decades if it wasn’t for this phenomenon.

Ciannat Howett, an associate professor at Emory University, shares her own story of job growth and overwork.

Podcast production by David Schulman.

Better Life Lab is a partnership of Slate and New America.

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Email inboxes and push notifications were designed to keep us busy. But when we break it all down and how we think about busyness, we should be paying attention to the way our environment is designed — both at work and at home. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely explains how we can change our surroundings and our actions to fight our addiction to being busy.

Ariely is an author of The New York Times best-selling book “Predictably Irrational,” a popular TED speaker, and professor and director of the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University. We also hear from David Sbarra, a professor in the psychology department at the University of Arizona, where he directs the Laboratory for Social Connectedness and Health. And he confesses — he is obsessed with busyness.

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