the case for

optimism

A by-the-numbers look at our increasingly productive world

In the wake of a highly contentious presidential campaign, we can finally breathe and take in some good news: We are generally more optimistic than we think we are.

Throughout the year, OppenheimerFunds conducted first-of-its-kind biometric research to demonstrate how optimism can benefit investors in the long term, and to identify the disparity between how we think we feel versus what we actually feel below the surface.

While measuring their true feelings via physiological signals like heart rate and nervous system response, OppenheimerFunds asked attendees how they felt about their long-term investment views in three key areas: aging, emerging markets and innovation. The result? Regardless of party affiliation, gender and income level, the majority of respondents showed more optimism than they reported.

And for good reason. The world is becoming a better place as progress and innovation drive vast increases in human productivity. In other words, we’re creating more value and doing more with less.

Alongside insights from OppenheimerFunds’ groundbreaking research, take a look at the latest facts and stats from key investment themes across women’s economic participation, aging trends and technological advances for proof: The world is on an increasing upward trajectory and there’s never been a better time to invest in our long-term future.

women

Prospering in the
workforce

With a consistently strong footing in the workforce, women are increasing their footprint and economic impact.

Entering the labor force

1966

2015

40
%
57
%

U.S. labor force participation rate of women, 16 and older

Earning more equal pay

1970s

2016

60
%
79
%

Women’s wages as a percentage of men’s wages for the same job in the U.S.

Starting businesses

1997 - 2014

68
%

Rise in number of women-owned businesses in the U.S.

Contributing to the GDP

1979 - 2012

$
1.7T

Amount added to U.S. GDP by women entering the workforce

Now the developing world is catching up, with women increasingly entering the workforce.

Rise in female labor force participation from 1990 to 2013

1990

2013

43
%
59
%

in Latin America and the Caribbean

60
%
65
%

in sub-Saharan Africa

18
%
21
%

in the Middle East and North Africa

Key findings from OppenheimerFunds biometric research

Long-term investment opportunities in developing markets

When responding to the future of globalization and widespread broadband access, female participants were higher in both measured and reported optimism, while men measured optimism significantly lower than they reported.

female

GENDER comparison of optimism: optimist scale 0-4

3.04

FEMALE
REPORTED
optimism

vs

3.22

FEMALE
measured
optimism

male

GENDER comparison of optimism: optimist scale 0-4

2.39

MALE
REPORTED
optimism

vs

2.06

MALE
measured
optimism

aging

Loving living longer

We’re living longer and thriving. We’re also becoming more productive into our later years.

Average life expectancy in the U.S.

1950s

2016

68

years old

78

years old

Expected retirement age, U.S.

2002

2014

63

years old

66

years old

Civilian labor force participation for workers 65 and older, U.S.

1994

12.4
%

2004

14.4
%

2014

18.6
%

2024

21.7
%

(projected)

Key findings from OppenheimerFunds biometric research

Meaningful increases in life expectancy

When considering that basic health care is now available to more people than before and the cost of treatments are now being reduced dramatically, both genders measured a higher level of optimism than they reported.

female

GENDER comparison of optimism: optimist scale 0-4

2.70

FEMALE
REPORTED
optimism

vs

3.20

FEMALE
measured
optimism

male

GENDER comparison of optimism: optimist scale 0-4

2.15

MALE
REPORTED
optimism

vs

3.10

MALE
measured
optimism

technology

Freeing ourselves
to do more

As tech and biology merge, the line between man and machine is becoming more blurred. We’re becoming superhuman, as computers increasingly supplement our capabilities and make us more efficient.

IN OUR PALMS

Percentage of U.S. population using smartphones

2010

20
%

2016

64
%

2019

72
%

IN OUR HOMES
Robots are expected to be in every home by 2025

On our bodies

2016

$
100

million

(ANNUALLY)

The global market for smart clothing

2012 - 2019

40
%

growth

(PROJECTED)

The global market for smart clothing

2025

10
%

(PROJECTED)

Percentage of U.S population who will be wearing clothes connected to the internet

And now (and in the near future), even inside our minds

2013

BIONIC EYE
IMPLANT

FDA approved the Argus II,
a bionic eye implant

2015

brain-neural
interfaces

Department of Defense began testing “brain-neural interfaces” by temporarily implanting electrical arrays into the brains of volunteers undergoing surgery for other neurological issues.

At the same time, our artificial helpers are on the rise and becoming increasingly human. Investment by venture capitalists in AI startups from 2010 to 2014 grew 20 times. By 2019, nearly 35 billion devices will be connected to the Internet of Things, thus becoming infinitely more helpful. In developed countries, AI could double annual economic growth rates by 2035.

Key findings from OppenheimerFunds biometric research

The web ties the global economy

When asked their feelings on the impact technological advances will have on the world, tech-savvy millennials measured a higher level of optimism while reporting a lower level of optimism.

millennials

comparison of optimism: optimist scale 0-4

3.12

REPORTED
optimism

vs

3.40

measured
optimism

non-millennials

comparison of optimism: optimist scale 0-4

3.76

REPORTED
optimism

vs

3.12

measured
optimism

Methodology

OppenheimerFunds interviewed more than 450 people at six events between the months of June and September 2016 to measure investor sentiment across four investment themes: aging, innovation, emerging markets and long-term investing. The goal of the study was to identify the disparity between how investors feel emotionally and how they reported feeling. As this survey had an emotional component, there are certain limitations. Factors affecting emotions such as lack of sleep, certain medications, alcohol, outside stresses and even cosmetic procedures can cause emotions to be dulled or exaggerated (positively or negatively).