Two “war” stories have dominated 2022: the deadly war in Ukraine and the Federal Reserve’s epic fight to tame rampant inflation. It just so happens that two of my favorite articles of the year helped explain their impact.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shocked the world when it began raining missiles and sending in tanks on Feb. 24. The reaction from corporate America was swift and perhaps unprecedented: Hundreds of Western companies, from Apple and McDonald’s to Disney and Ikea, immediately paused their activities there or left the Russian market in protest. “For many of these companies, it may have been one of the easiest stands they’ve ever taken,” wrote Douglas Schuler of Rice University and Laura Marie Edinger-Schon of the University of Mannheim. While the decisions fit within a trend of growing corporate activism, the business professors explained what made taking a stand on the Ukraine war an obvious one.

We’ve published at least 18 stories on inflation and interest rates this year. Every one of them did a great job helping explain inflation, the forces driving it up and the Fed’s aggressive campaign of rate hikes. But one of them stands out – by University of Southern California economist Rodney Ramcharan – for doing all three in a clear and simple way.

A third story we published this year I think worth highlighting was a very short story in a format we use to highlight interesting new research. A study conducted by marketing professors Peggy Liu and Lauren Min found that if you lose touch with someone and are thinking about reaching out, you should do it. They’ll appreciate it more than you think, their study found. And that also seems to be a good note on which to begin the holidays.

Here’s another way to get in the holiday spirit: Test your knowledge of holiday customs we’ve written about from many eras and religious traditions, in a special holiday edition of our news quiz.

And a special opportunity: all donations this week are eligible for a 2-to-1 match by a generous donor. Help us enter 2023 on a strong financial footing by giving today and getting 3x the impact.

Also today:

Bryan Keogh

Deputy Managing Editor and Senior Editor of Economy and Business

Editor's Picks

Muscovites rushed to buy furniture and other goods from IKEA before it closed its Russian stores. AP Photo/Vladimir Kondrashov

Why Apple, Disney, IKEA and hundreds of other Western companies are abandoning Russia with barely a shrug

Douglas Schuler, Rice University; Laura Marie Edinger-Schons, University of Mannheim

Over 300 companies so far have closed stores, reassigned staff or halted sales in Russia in the two weeks since the invasion began.

The price of used cars has soared during the pandemic. AP Photo/Matt Rourke

How raising interest rates curbs inflation – and what could possibly go wrong

Rodney Ramcharan, University of Southern California

Higher interest rates reduce demand for goods and services, which makes it harder for companies to raise prices. But there are risks as well.

People tend to underestimate how much a friend they’ve lost contact with would enjoy a simple note saying ‘hi.’ JGI/Tom Grill/Tetra Images via Getty Images

Lost touch with someone? Reach out – your friend will likely appreciate it more than you think

Peggy Liu, University of Pittsburgh; Lauren Min, University of Kansas

It can feel risky to try reconnecting with people in our lives after falling out of touch – but fears of rejection are often overblown.

Reader Favorites

The government could toss the 1040 in the trash. Kameleon007iStock via Getty Images

The IRS already has all your income tax data – so why do Americans still have to file their taxes?

Beverly Moran, Vanderbilt University

A tax expert explains why the US continues to use such a complex and costly income tax system.

People wait in line for a free morning meal in Los Angeles in April 2020. High and rising inequality is one reason the U.S. ranks badly on some international measures of development. Frederic J. Brown/ AFP via Getty Images

US is becoming a ‘developing country’ on global rankings that measure democracy, inequality

Kathleen Frydl, Johns Hopkins University

The United States came in 41st worldwide on the UN’s 2022 sustainable development index, down nine spots from last year. A political historian explains the country’s dismal scores.

McDonald’s said it is losing $50 million a month by keeping its Russian locations closed. AP Photo

‘Great resignation’ appears to be hastening the exodus of US and other Western companies from Russia

Steven Kreft, Indiana University; Elham Mafi-Kreft, Indiana University

Two scholars of corporate do-goodery suggest a hidden driver of corporate decisions to leave Russia is the global trend in which record numbers of workers are quitting their jobs.

Jan. 6 committee report

A Dec. 19, 2022 meeting of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, DC. Getty Images

Jan. 6 committee tackled unprecedented attack with time-tested inquiry

Claire Leavitt, Smith College

The House Jan. 6 committee’s final report is the latest in a long series of congressional studies that have tried to answer hard questions about government failures and suggest ways to avoid them.

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