The Indicator from Planet Money


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 Oct 9, 2018

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Don't tell Planet Money but this is my new fav

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 Sep 2, 2018

 Aug 28, 2018
always useful info


A little show about big ideas. From the people who make Planet Money, The Indicator helps you make sense of what's happening today. It's a quick hit of insight into work, business, the economy, and everything else. Listen weekday afternoons.

Episode Date
Economics Of A Border Wall
President Donald Trump has made building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico one of his signature issues. Today, the Indicator looks at the economics of a border wall.
Dec 14, 2018
Why Are There So Many Mattress Stores?
There are so many mattress stores in the America, and they always seem to be empty. So how can they afford the real estate? And how do they stay in business?
Dec 13, 2018
Economic Insecurity
The U.S. economy looks in fine shape — for now — but even a lot of Americans with jobs still struggle financially. Here are three Indicators to monitor economic insecurity in the U.S.
Dec 12, 2018
Citi Bike's Better Angels
How one bike-sharing company used behavioral economics to solve one of its most vexing problems.
Dec 11, 2018
Unto The Brexit
UK Prime Minister Theresa May's plan to exit the European Union has hit a wall. What happens now?
Dec 10, 2018
More Jobs, Less Pay
In honor of jobs day, we look at the jobs that used to be high-paying, that are now low-paying. What happened to these jobs? And what can it tell us about the U.S. economy?
Dec 07, 2018
The Fed's Mistake?
For years after the Great Recession, the Federal Reserve kept short term interest rates near zero percent. It began raising rates in 2015 — but did it jump the gun.
Dec 06, 2018
Paris Is Burning
What the yellow vest protests in Paris tell us about economic reform in France and the parallels with politics in the U.S.
Dec 05, 2018
Behind The Curve
When the yield curve inverts, people worry that it's a sign we're headed for recession. But its predictive reliability also depends on the way it inverts.
Dec 04, 2018
Trade War And Peace
China and the U.S. have been locked in a trade war for most of 2018, but peace may be on the horizon.... at least a partial peace.
Dec 03, 2018
The Voyages Of The Starship Indicator
NASA has been taking a more hands-off approach to extra-planetary exploration. What will that mean for the economics of space?
Nov 30, 2018
Space Economics
From moon missions and space shuttles to public-private partnerships.
Nov 29, 2018
Do Sanctions Work?
Sanctions have become an increasingly common foreign policy tool for the U.S. How effective are they?
Nov 28, 2018
College Side Hustle
Colleges and universities are finding creative ways to make money.
Nov 27, 2018
Bonds, Rating Agencies And Chocolate
Marilyn Cohen talks bonds, rating agencies and the yield curve, in overrated, underrated.
Nov 26, 2018
See Stocks Run
The stock market has been on a wild ride lately. Today, the Indicator looks at what's going on and whether we should worry for the economy.
Nov 23, 2018
The Price Of Your Turkey Dinner
We talk turkey with the American Farm Bureau about changes in the price of Thanksgiving Dinner.
Nov 21, 2018
The Ins & Outs Of The Minimum Wage
The minimum wage is a contentious issue. Some claim it's a job killer. But what does the research show?
Nov 20, 2018
Recession Indicators, Pt 2
Wondering whether we're poised to tip into a recession? The jobs market may point the way.
Nov 19, 2018
Recession Indicators, Pt 1
Are we heading into a recession? The Conference Board's Leading Indicator has ten ways to tell.
Nov 16, 2018
The Lucky Country
Australia hasn't had a recession in 27 years. Good policy? Or just good luck?
Nov 15, 2018
Oil Up, Oil Down
The decline in the oil price since the end of October has been stunning in its depth and speed, and follows more than a year of climbing. What changed?
Nov 14, 2018
The Problem With The Pink Tax
Women pay more than men for many consumer products. Today on the show: Why some economists still think that's a good thing.
Nov 13, 2018
Recession Suppression Needs Policy Aggression
The next global economic downturn could be even harder to reverse than the last one.
Nov 12, 2018
The 401(k) Turns 40
The 401(k) retirement plan turned 40 this week! Today on the show, we chronicle the rise of the 401(k), the fall of the pension, and talk to the man who started it all.
Nov 09, 2018
All Aboard The Bankmobile!
How one bank gave a whole new meaning to the term "mobile banking"
Nov 08, 2018
Your Lifetime Value Score
You may not know it, but companies are silently scoring you... and using that score to figure out how to treat you.
Nov 07, 2018
Stacey And Cardiff Answer To The People
We answer questions from our listeners and issue a couple of mea culpas.
Nov 06, 2018
Ode On A Grecian Tax
Taxes get a bad reputation, but they were central to the formation of representative government, says financial historian William N. Goetzmann.
Nov 05, 2018
How Companies Cope (With A Tight Labor Market)
Wage growth has (finally) been accelerating, but what else are companies doing to bid for workers?
Nov 02, 2018
Why Ecuador Uses The Dollar?
One of our youngest listeners asked us why Ecuador changed its currency to U.S. dollars, so we found out!
Nov 01, 2018
Paranormal Profits
Horror movies are good business. Scary good. They are more likely to be profitable than any other kind of movie. Today on the show, we look at why.
Oct 31, 2018
The Best Day For Payday
Weekly, biweekly, or every month — which payday makes the most sense?
Oct 30, 2018
Judgement Bonds
Municipalities are increasingly going to the bond market to pay their court settlement costs.
Oct 29, 2018
Lotteries And Happiness
We assume that winning the lottery will make us happier. In some ways it does, in others — not so much.
Oct 26, 2018
Difficulty With The Deficit
The deficit normally shrinks when the economy is strengthening, but not now.
Oct 25, 2018
The Rise of the Machines
In just six years, robots could achieve parity with humans in the workplace, with machines working the same number of hours as people.
Oct 24, 2018
Of Wages And Warehouses
Warehouse jobs are growing even faster than the rest of the booming labor market. Are they good jobs?
Oct 23, 2018
Short Shrift For Short Sellers
Short sellers get a bad rap. Sometimes with good reason. But overall, they're an inevitable and useful part of a healthy financial system.
Oct 22, 2018
Tears For Sears
A storied American retailer has filed for bankruptcy.
Oct 19, 2018
Beating Bollywood
Amazon and Netflix are trying to take on India. But, so far a Hollywood ending, south-Asian style, has eluded them.
Oct 18, 2018
Gross Dank Product
Just because marijuana is now legal in Canada doesn't mean the market for it is easily quantifiable.
Oct 17, 2018
A Snapshot Of Poverty In America
The Supplemental Poverty Report provides a more accurate and nuanced picture of poverty in America.
Oct 16, 2018
Overrated/Underrated: Nobel Prizes, Conversations, And Our Descendants
Tyler Cowen rates Nobel prizes, blogs, and the importance of weirdness in conversation
Oct 15, 2018
The Economics of Apologies
Turns out nothing says 'I'm sorry' like cold, hard cash
Oct 12, 2018
China's Brave New World
China is piloting a so-called social credit system, which allots every citizen a certain number of points. If you do the "right thing" you can extra points. If you do the wrong thing, you can lose points and life can get very difficult.
Oct 11, 2018
Life On China's Blacklist
In China, if you don't pay back your loans, you could end up on a blacklist. When you're on it, you can't get a credit card or a plane ticket. Today on the show, we talk with someone on the blacklist.
Oct 10, 2018
China's Social Credit System
China has a problem: it's economy grew fast and that led to a trust problem. If someone doesn't pay back a loan, there's no real enforcement. But the solution might cause problems of its own.
Oct 09, 2018
The Iron Lotus
The reverse stock split is the Iron Lotus of the financial world. It looks complicated and absurd, and it often doesn't end well.
Oct 08, 2018
Who's Hiring?
Today on the Indicator: stolen jobs-day trends ... from our clever jobs-day friends!
Oct 05, 2018
What Comes Afta NAFTA
The US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement keeps in place the basic NAFTA framework, with a few twists.
Oct 04, 2018
What Happened To GE?
General Electric used to be a household name — a pillar of the U.S. economy. Now, it's fighting to survive.
Oct 03, 2018
Zeitgeist-y Bubbles
How financial bubbles reflect the particular psychology of the times in which they inflate.
Oct 02, 2018
D.C.'s Billion-Dollar Lawsuit
Washington, D.C. is being sued for a billion dollars... for gentrification.
Oct 01, 2018
The Case Of The Pricey Frito
Corn prices are falling, but the price of Fritos in the White House press corps break room is up by 20%. What's going on? Team Indicator is on the case!
Sep 28, 2018
Baby Got Buybacks
Companies are buying back stock from shareholders more than ever. Not everyone thinks that's a good thing.
Sep 27, 2018
Tariffs And Tourists And Trade Wars, Oh My!
The U.S. trade war with China escalated this week. The Trump administration might be underestimating how many options the Chinese government has for responding to American tariffs.
Sep 26, 2018
Less Risky Business
The psychological scars wrought by the 2008 financial crisis are taking a long time to heal. We're a lot more cautious, which has serious implications for the economy.
Sep 25, 2018
Saudi Arabia & The Paradox of Plenty
This week in history: Saudi Arabian oil and the creation of Aramco.
Sep 24, 2018
Rents in America are leveling off. At last!
Sep 21, 2018
The Young And The Restless
Why boom and bust is part and parcel of the emerging economic experience.
Sep 20, 2018
The Psychological Effects Of The Financial Crisis, Lingering
We hear a lot about the effects of the financial crisis on the economy and markets, but what about the lasting effects it had on our psyches?
Sep 19, 2018
Work Work Work
The availability of work — the availability of jobs for people who want a job and even for people who didn't know they want a job — continues expanding.
Sep 18, 2018
Down Clown
Clowns and clowning have been suffering from a chronic branding crisis for decades. Can they fix it?
Sep 17, 2018
Handle With Care
In the midst of a deepening economic crisis, a reporter's dilemma.
Sep 14, 2018
The Price Of Rice In Japan
Demand for Japanese-grown rice is falling. But prices are still going up.
Sep 13, 2018
Free Tuition; False Economy?
Why free tuition may make for better politics than economics.
Sep 12, 2018
The Liars Of Romance
People lie when they're looking for a mate online. Today on the Indicator: the lies we tell online, and how often we tell them.
Sep 11, 2018
Call The Midwife Back
For more than three decades, it was illegal in Alabama to have your baby delivered by a midwife. But last year the state finally legalized midwifery and now it could lead to serious cost savings.
Sep 10, 2018
Your Jobs Questions, Answered
Martha Gimbel of the Hiring Lab at Indeed answers listener questions about the job market.
Sep 07, 2018
Why Aren't We More Productive?
Computing and the internet should make us more productive. Or should they?! It's an Indicator mystery.
Sep 06, 2018
Cardiff gets the lowdown on NAFTA from Soumaya Keynes of The Economist
Sep 05, 2018
Making The Case For Removing Tariffs
The next round of trade barriers with China could include a 25 percent levy on Chinese antiquities. One dealer went to Washington to tell Congress why that tariff could hurt our allies and ourselves.
Sep 04, 2018
The Original Bailout
In 1907, America's financial system ran into trouble. Trust in financial institutions evaporated, and contagion swept through the economy. Then John Pierpont Morgan stepped in.
Aug 31, 2018
Aging Up
Most people think the best time to start a business is when you're young, but is it?
Aug 30, 2018
Mind the Pay Gap
Why do men still make 20 percent more than women in the U.S.?
Aug 29, 2018
Hurricane Joseph & The Calculator That Time Forgot
Creative destruction is a fact of economic life that few products can resist. Graphing calculators are a notable exception.
Aug 28, 2018
The Measure Of A Tragedy
The Venezuelan economy has collapsed. Years of economic mismanagement and a deepening political crisis have led to a recession. Yet there's one indicator that can capture this economic catastrophe.
Aug 27, 2018
The Art of War. It's Not For Everyone
"The Art of War" by Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu, is one of corporate America's favorite books. But John McWhorter, a linguistics professor at Columbia, isn't convinced about its utility.
Aug 24, 2018
Beyond GDP
GDP has been a great indicator, but it may no longer be enough.
Aug 23, 2018
The Underrated Economists
Today's summer economics read is "What Would the Great Economists Do?" by Linda Yueh, who is a great economist herself.
Aug 22, 2018
Why People Can't Get Work Done At Work
Today's summer book recommendation offers a different approach to the modern workplace.
Aug 21, 2018
The Indicator Goes To The Beach With Tim Harford
In honor of the last stretch of summer, The Indicator has selected some economic beach reads! Books that will teach you something about economics and also pair well with a pina colada.
Aug 20, 2018
Donald Trump's Economic Strategy... Maybe?
Wall Street Journal Chief Economics Commentator Greg Ip explains President Donald Trump's emerging economic strategy.
Aug 17, 2018
We Buy A Cryptokitty!
Today on The Indicator: Cardiff and Stacey go deep into the world of the blockchain... to buy a cartoon cat.
Aug 16, 2018
Cryptokitties: The Download On Digital Cats
How a single cartoon cat can cost $140K.
Aug 15, 2018
From Prison To The Workforce
People who've been to prison find it hard to get work once they're free. One solution to the problem may be a simple certificate.
Aug 14, 2018
Messy Desks, Light Bulbs & Dune
Tim Harford is the author of 'Fifty Inventions that Shaped the Modern Economy." We play overrated/underrated, and asked him about inventions, as well as messy desks.
Aug 13, 2018
Privacy Please: Why Public Companies Go Private (Or Vice Versa)
Today on the Indicator: why companies decide to be publicly-traded or privately-owned. It's all about control. And money.
Aug 10, 2018
The OG Yield Curve Whisperer
A conversation with Campbell Harvey, whose 1986 thesis first explained how the yield curve could predict the direction of the economy.
Aug 09, 2018
Trickle-down Economics: Pricing H2O
What's the best way to price water in a drought, to ensure people get what they need without breaking the bank?
Aug 08, 2018
Sanctions, Iran, And The Battle Over SWIFT
Today on the Indicator: How a small Belgian company wields enormous influence in global finance and diplomacy.
Aug 07, 2018
Tariffs, Now With Extra Cheese
The U.S. has been renegotiating trade deals and putting tariffs on different goods. Meanwhile, other countries are re-negotiating their trade agreements and some deals are leaving U.S. producers out.
Aug 06, 2018
Beating The Clock On Jobs (Summer) Friday
Five indicators in five minutes — Let's gooooooooo!
Aug 03, 2018
Grey Poupon And The Cultural Divide
Income inequality in the U.S. has been climbing for a while. Has it also been accompanied by a widening cultural gap between rich and poor?
Aug 02, 2018
What A Tariff Looks Like
What happens when a new tariff gets put in place? To really see the action, you have to go to Newark, New Jersey.
Aug 01, 2018
What's In Your Paycheck?
The pace of wage growth is one of the best indicators of economic health. But it can be measured with different methods. Each method tells a slightly different story about how the economy is doing.
Jul 31, 2018
Putin Vs. Russia's Economy
Russia has had a huge presence in the news lately. But its economy... not so huge. It's smaller than the economy of Texas. Today on the show, we look at what's been holding it back.
Jul 30, 2018
The GDP got all sorts of attention today. The U.S. economy grew at a stellar rate of 4.1% in the second quarter. But what does that mean? And will it continue?
Jul 27, 2018
When Oracles Err
Warren Buffett, Mark Twain, and John Maynard Keynes all made enormous investment mistakes at some point in their lives. On today's show, those stories — and the lessons we can all take from them.
Jul 26, 2018
The Diamond-Water Paradox
The Diamond-Water Paradox poses the question: If we need water to survive and we don't need diamonds, why are diamonds expensive and water cheap?
Jul 25, 2018
Trump Vs. The Fed, Or Trump Vs... Trump?
President Trump broke with tradition by lamenting that rising rates are keeping the dollar strong and the trade deficit wide. But rising rates and a stronger dollar are the results of his own agenda.
Jul 24, 2018
Google's Mobile Monopoly
The European Commission just slapped Google with a $5 billion fine for abusing its Android monopoly. How did it create the alleged monopoly? By making Android free.
Jul 23, 2018
The Market For Air
How something that's all around us came to be worth millions of dollars.
Jul 20, 2018
Three Indicators To Keep A (Side)eye On
Three worrying indicators to keep an eye on — less complicated than the yield curve, but something you can talk about at the water cooler.
Jul 19, 2018
Trade Wars And The Batman Problem
It may be too late to avoid a trade war between the U.S. and China, but there might be a simple way to stop the trade wars of the future.
Jul 18, 2018
Saving Women
Women invest far less of their paychecks than men do. Sallie Krawcheck spent her career on Wall Street and she says this is a problem we need to solve.
Jul 17, 2018
Japan's Ninja Shortage
Japan's population is shrinking. It's harder and harder to find qualified people to fill a lot of jobs. Including ninjas.
Jul 16, 2018
We Hear You
We respond to your letters, tweets and messages: We talk Iran, yield curve and how to pronounce Hyundai.
Jul 13, 2018
The Last Straw
Starbucks, Ikea, Vancouver, Scotland: They've all banned plastic straws. The movement is meant to help reduce plastic waste in the ocean. But will it work, or will it backfire?
Jul 12, 2018
Fed Accounts For All!
Banks and other financial institutions have their own banking accounts at the Federal Reserve. Morgan Ricks argues that regular folks should have access to Fed accounts, too.
Jul 11, 2018
The Price of A Hyundai in Iran
President Trump recently announced strict economic sanctions in Iran. Today on the show, we talked to a young Iranian man about what it's like to live in the Iranian economy right now.
Jul 10, 2018
The Recession Predictor, Still Predictive?
Every time the yield curve has inverted since 1970, the economy has fallen into recession. It's getting close to inverting now, but it may no longer be the recession predictor it once was.
Jul 09, 2018
Jobs: 10 Questions in 10 Minutes
It's jobs Friday! For a comprehensive mid-year update on the labor market, we ask labor economist Betsey Stevenson ten questions in ten minutes.
Jul 06, 2018
The Long French Goodbye
A quirk in French labor law makes it especially difficult for a company to lay off its employees. It's a system designed to protect workers, but it also has consequences for the rest of the economy.
Jul 05, 2018
Star Spangled Indicator
Flags: symbol of a country, patriotic rallying cry, and a telling economic indicator. Today on the show, a factory in China that makes American flags, and what it tells us about the modern economy.
Jul 03, 2018
The Problem With Unobservable Variables
The unemployment rate is already below the Federal Reserve's estimate for maximum employment. But former Fed Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin says it may still have further to fall.
Jul 02, 2018
Dungeons & Dragons & Balance Sheets
Every year, the nation's biggest banks are subjected to stress tests, hypothetical disaster scenarios designed to test their balance sheets. But the stress tests could soon be getting less stressful.
Jun 29, 2018
Bubble, Bubble, Oil And Trouble
The price of oil continued climbing throughout this year, catching forecasters and consumers by surprise. What happened, and what might make it move in the second half of the year?
Jun 28, 2018
Happy Birthday, Smith v. Keynes
June marks the birthday of two of the most famous economists of all time: Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes. Whose ideas are most relevant today? Stacey and Cardiff duke it out.
Jun 27, 2018
Sallie Krawcheck on #MeToo, Dodd Frank, & Cronuts
We play overrated/underrated with Sallie Krawcheck, Wall Street C-suite veteran and founder of Ellevest. She talks investing, women on Wall Street, and where to find the best BBQ.
Jun 26, 2018
The Beautiful Indicator
Team Indicator takes on the World Cup. We drink, we cheer, we watch the game and, of course, we bring our economic indicators.
Jun 25, 2018
MoviePass / Fail?
If you pay MoviePass 10 dollars a month, you can go to the movies every day. Great for customers, but hard on a company's bottom line. Today on the show, what's the plan, MoviePass?
Jun 22, 2018
Teenage (Employment) Wasteland
The teen summer job is a vaunted that is fading. Today's teenagers just aren't working as much as their forebears. And that could have serious implications for America's labor market.
Jun 21, 2018
The Plight Of The Living Dead
The Death Master File is a list kept by the government. It keeps track of everyone who has died. But what happens when you end up on the list while you're still alive?
Jun 20, 2018
The Measure Of A Tragedy
Venezuela's economy has collapsed, and the normal economic indicators have gotten so bad they're almost unfathomable. So one economist created an indicator to capture the awful human cost.
Jun 19, 2018
The Art Of The Trade War
The U.S. and China are on track for a trade war. Economists generally say that's a bad idea... but if the U.S. wants to get tough on China, what are some alternatives?
Jun 18, 2018
Gettin' Giggy With It
Despite the proliferation of apps like Lyft, TaskRabbit, and Uber, a new government report found no growth in people primarily doing this kind of work. Here's how the "gig economy" is and isn't changing.
Jun 15, 2018
Trading Spaces
The New York Stock Exchange — that bastion of American capitalism — owes its existence to two dozen men, a buttonwood tree, and a coffee shop. Today on The Indicator: the history of Wall Street.
Jun 14, 2018
Dude, Where's My Trade War?
One way to think of President Trump's trade policy is as a sort of soap opera. Today, we catch you up on the latest dramatic twists and also answer a big, looming question: are we in a trade war?
Jun 13, 2018
The Congressional Budget Office has a long history of disputes with the White House, including the current administration. But Alice Rivlin — the first-ever director of the CBO — says this time is different.
Jun 12, 2018
Let Them Eat Marshmallows
The marshmallow test is one of the most famous social experiments of all time, but we may be thinking about it all wrong.
Jun 11, 2018
Positively 23rd Street
Why is one of the busiest blocks in Manhattan littered with empty storefronts? And what does that say about the changing landscape of American retail?
Jun 08, 2018
When Retirement Advice Goes Viral
So how much should you have saved for retirement? We wanted to know, so we asked the guy who invented the 401k.
Jun 07, 2018
Social Insecurity
Social Security has traditionally paid for itself, with money leftover. Until this year. Social Security has a funding problem and it's getting bad quickly.
Jun 06, 2018
Do You Have $400?
The U.S. economy has been humming along in the last few years, but that momentum can mask the financial fragility of millions of people who are just one emergency away from financial disaster.
Jun 05, 2018
The Economics of Vaccines
Vaccines are expensive and time-consuming to develop and there's no guarantee the investment will ever pay off. This means promising vaccines often sit in laboratory freezers during major epidemics.
Jun 04, 2018
To Err Is Human, To Revise Divine
The monthly jobs report. Economists watch it, financial markets move on it, but it may not be as accurate as you'd think.
Jun 01, 2018
Internet a la Carte
A new study tries to put a dollar amount on free internet services... by looking at how much money it would take for people to give them up.
May 31, 2018
Money For Moms
After six years of preparation, an ambitious new experiment will study the effects of income on the development of infant brains.
May 30, 2018
Banking's Regulation Rollback
Last week, Congress and President Trump passed a bill rolling back regulation put in place by the 2010 Dodd Frank banking reform bill. We look at what changed and what it means.
May 29, 2018
Earnings Calls Gone Wild
The earnings call is a peculiar Wall Street ritual, one that's almost designed to be boring. So when something interesting does happen it's news. Today, the lessons of those earnings calls gone rogue.
May 25, 2018
The Money Detectives
Recent news has cast a spotlight on a little-known regulatory agency quietly working behind the scenes of our economy. What is FinCEN and why is it so important?
May 24, 2018
Most Inane Deduction?
The mortgage interest deduction is popular, but it has numerous distorting effects on the economy – and economists also say that it does exactly the opposite of what people think.
May 23, 2018
Women in Bondland
Finance is notorious for being a boys club. Marilyn Cohen has worked in the bond market for 30 years. She talks about what it takes to succeed in her field and why there aren't more women.
May 22, 2018
Stacey And Cardiff Take On The Commencement Speech
Congrats, Class of 2018! Rather than listen to another meandering cliche-riddled commencement speech, let Stacey and Cardiff guide you through young-adult life with advice backed up by research.
May 21, 2018
Time Bandits
Timekeeping software is becoming the standard across the U.S. And it turns out, it can be used to steal workers' wages, a few minutes at a time.
May 18, 2018
SNAP Back To Reality
Congress may soon expand work requirements for people who receive benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. But do these work requirements match the reality of work itself?
May 17, 2018
All Bets Are On
Thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision, legal sports betting may be coming to a city near you.
May 16, 2018
Rising Rates Vs. The Housing Market
Interest rates are on the rise for the first time in years. What that means for the housing market is far from obvious.
May 15, 2018
The Semiconductor Standoff
What one embattled smartphone-maker can tell us about China's plan to transform its economy
May 14, 2018
In Vino, Veritas by Numbers
Assigning a grade to a bottle of wine might seem counterintuitive, or even a little absurd, but wine scores have can have a big impact the people who sell wine — and the people who drink it.
May 11, 2018
Failing College
Colleges are seeing fewer and fewer students apply every year. To try and stay solvent and attract students, they're trying all kinds of things, from lazy rivers to M&A.
May 10, 2018
Indicator and Beyond
It's the 100th Indicator! To celebrate, we look to the future... and to alternate futures. The Indicator takes a break from economics to tackle infinity.
May 09, 2018
The Good, The Bad and The Tax Cuts
The corporate tax cut passed in December was supposed to compel businesses to boost investment. Is it working, or are companies just passing the savings on to their owners?
May 08, 2018
The 'I' Of The LIBOR
The LIBOR interest rate was at the center of a huge international scandal back in 2012. Regulators believed it had to replaced. But is that even possible?
May 07, 2018
The Perks Of Counting The Wallflowers
It's jobs day! But the unemployment number might not be the most important thing to watch.
May 04, 2018
Baby Bubbles
Housing markets are hot. But are they bubblicious?
May 03, 2018
Aging Up
Most people think the best time to start a business is when you're young.
May 02, 2018
The Only Prescription Is More Transparency
Healthcare is expensive. Transparency in pricing might make it cheaper.
May 01, 2018
Inflation Target Acquired
The Federal Reserve has hit its inflation target. Now comes the hard part - staying at two percent.
Apr 30, 2018
The Homeless Count
The homeless population in Los Angeles County has been skyrocketing. A team from USC tried to figure out why.
Apr 27, 2018
California's Housing Conundrum
Almost everyone in California agrees that there's not enough housing in the state. But no one wants building in their backyard.
Apr 26, 2018
The Farm Labor Drought
Water isn't the only shortage California farmers are worried about. There's a labor drought, too.
Apr 25, 2018
When China's Ships Come In
A spat over tariffs is giving California ports pause.
Apr 24, 2018
3 Things You Didn't Know About LA
Los Angeles - it's not what you think.
Apr 23, 2018
The New Bond Villain
Concerns about the yield on the 10-year Treasury note going above three percent are overblown.
Apr 20, 2018
Amazon vs Trump Goes Postal
President Trump's objection to Amazon's deal with the Postal Service is based on dodgy data.
Apr 19, 2018
Lawn Chair Economics
China steals a lot of intellectual property from the U.S. The smartest thing for the U.S. to do in return might be ... nothing.
Apr 18, 2018
Tax Refunds, A Habitual Health Problem
The way many Americans manage their taxes could be bad for their health.
Apr 17, 2018
The Loan Ranger
Most people think you can't get rid of student loans in bankruptcy. Turns out most people are wrong.
Apr 16, 2018
Congress Does Not Compute
The percentage of congressional representatives with a background in computers: THREE
Apr 13, 2018
Unsung Indicators
Our show goes old school in this episode and brings you three under-appreciated economic indicators about things that affect us all.
Apr 12, 2018
Deficit Attention Disorder
The CBO projects the federal budget deficit could top 800 billion dollars this year... and reach a cool trillion by 2020. So ... what?
Apr 11, 2018
Tyler Cowen Rates America
Data, the humanities, and the suburbs: Tyler returns for another round of Overrated vs. Underrated
Apr 10, 2018
Mind The Pay Gap
Women still make less than men in the U.S. Exactly how much less is not necessarily a straightforward question.
Apr 09, 2018
Where The Jobs Are
Chinese tariffs could threaten more than 1.8 million American jobs.
Apr 06, 2018
Morbidity, Peak Child, And Collective Pessimism
Five interesting facts about our world that you probably didn't know.
Apr 05, 2018
Stop, Collaborate, And Listen
Cross-genre musical collaboration used be a small niche in the popular music scene. Today it's verging on domination.
Apr 04, 2018
The Original Bailout
In 1907, America's financial system ran into trouble. Trust in financial institutions evaporated, and contagion swept through the economy. Then John Pierpont Morgan stepped in.
Apr 03, 2018
China, Tariffs, And The Hogs Of War
The tariffs China just imposed on 128 American-made items will cost the U.S. about 3 billion dollars a year. That's not much to the nation, but it's a big deal if you make one of the products on the list.
Apr 02, 2018
Disability In Decline
A long-term trend of Americans withdrawing from the workforce due to disability has gone into reverse.
Mar 29, 2018
Dollars And Census
The census is more than a headcount. It determines how federal dollars are spent and how districts are represented in Congress.
Mar 28, 2018
Costly Care In America
Americans spend more on healthcare than people in other high-income countries, and it's not because we use more of it.
Mar 27, 2018
Dollars for Data
From Google Maps to Yelp to Instagram, the internet gives us access to all sorts of services without having to pay a cent. But are they really free?
Mar 26, 2018
The Oil Rig Count
One of the best gauges of the state of the oil business is a pretty simple one: just count the drilling rigs.
Mar 23, 2018
Too Small To Fail
Independent bookstores are experiencing a surprising renaissance.
Mar 22, 2018
Trump vs. Trudeau: Both Right, Both Wrong
Trump says we have a trade deficit with Canada. He's right... and he's also wrong.
Mar 21, 2018
A Brief History of Tariffs
The debate over tariffs is nothing new. In fact, it's as old as the country itself. A look at how the debate began.
Mar 20, 2018
The Reinvention Of The IPO
Having disrupted the music business, Spotify is trying the same trick with the stock market.
Mar 19, 2018
The Bear Necessities
The man who wrote the book on the collapse of Bear Stearns talks about what happened a decade ago and where we are today.
Mar 16, 2018
Calculated Risk, Calculated Caution
Bill McBride has been remarkably prescient about the big swings in the U.S. economy. And he's starting to get uneasy.
Mar 15, 2018
What Trade Organization?
The justification used by the Trump administration for its steel and aluminum tariffs is riskier for the global trading system than the tariffs themselves.
Mar 14, 2018
Bonds... Japanese Bonds
Team Indicator takes your questions, concerns, and James Bond-related car trivia.
Mar 13, 2018
Hurricane Joseph & The Calculator That Time Forgot
Creative destruction is a fact of economic life that few products can resist. Graphing calculators are a notable exception
Mar 12, 2018
The Jobs Report: Where The Ladies At?
Why has the share of women in the labor force been stagnant for almost two decades?
Mar 09, 2018
Let's Get Ready to Retail!
In the red corner: the uncontested retail champion of the world: WalMart. In the blue corner, the behemoth of online sales: Amazon.
Mar 08, 2018
A Child Prodigy, A Nervous Breakdown, and The Discovery of Romantic Poetry
What happens when a classical economist finds out the world is much more complicated than he thought?
Mar 07, 2018
Cobalt: Rare and Everywhere
Cobalt used to be a sideshow on the periodic table. Now it's the main event.
Mar 06, 2018
Sticker Shock: The State Of The American Car Industry
The average American car is now more expensive than it's ever been. And guess what? Sales of new cars are falling.
Mar 05, 2018
Oil's Magic Price
There's a sweet spot for every oil well in America.
Mar 02, 2018
The Cost of Life in America
Over the past two decades, prices on average have increased. But certain things have gotten cheaper while others have gotten more expensive, and which is which can tell us a lot.
Mar 01, 2018
More Band For Your Buck
To understand the Trump administration's approach to trade tariffs, look no further than the humble rubber band.
Feb 28, 2018
The Case For Overshooting
We have a new Federal Reserve chair. His name is Jerome Powell. Here's what we can expect.
Feb 27, 2018
Productivity With A Side Of Chicken
Why productivity could be the most important data point in the economy...and how did KFC manage to run out of chicken?
Feb 26, 2018
Guns And The Trump Slump
Today more than two thirds of the guns in America are owned by just 20 percent of gun owners. That's not always good for gunmakers.
Feb 23, 2018
The 28-Hour Work Week
Imagine being able to work fewer hours during a difficult time in your life, without having to quit your job or interrupt your career. In Germany, for many workers, that's now a reality.
Feb 22, 2018
The Olympics, Afrofuturism and Sichuan Food
Our guest, Tyler Cowen, has smart insights into a ridiculously wide range of subjects. Our conversation is a lightning round that touches everything from Afrofuturist flicks to the mouth-numbing qualities of the Sichuan peppercorn.
Feb 21, 2018
The Spy Who Trolled Me
Russia spent 73 million Rubles a month to influence an American election. But what did they get for their money?
Feb 20, 2018
Craft Beer Hops the Shark
As craft beer exploded over the last decade, the hops business boomed. Then came the bust.
Feb 16, 2018
Overshooting, Tipping Points, and ABBA
How a classic econ book explains ABBA's costumes (among other things).
Feb 15, 2018
Stimulus Response
An economist from the Obama administration thinks the economy still needs stimulus. Will the Republican tax and spending bills provide it?
Feb 14, 2018
Sanctions on Ice
A story of sanctions, the Olympics, and a secret wing of the North Korean government.
Feb 13, 2018
Fear: The Index
An index that was invented to measure people's expectations about the stock market may be driving the market itself.
Feb 12, 2018
The Job Market Is Almost There
Today on the show: What our three favorite jobs numbers tell us about the state of the economy.
Feb 09, 2018
The Market for Stolen Passwords
A stolen Amazon password costs $10. Bank of America is $25. What a price list discovered on the dark web says about about the market for your stolen passwords.
Feb 08, 2018
Obama, Trump, And Trade
President Trump's new tariff on solar panels kicks in this week. But the story of where that tariff comes from goes back to the Obama administration.
Feb 07, 2018
Dow De Ching
The stock market's drop over the past few days wasn't weird. What was weird was what the market did for all of 2017.
Feb 06, 2018
Wells Fargo's Corset
The Federal Reserve just told Wells Fargo it can't grow. On today's show: Why that's a big deal for Wells Fargo, and for other big banks.
Feb 05, 2018
How Are They Doing Now?
We look at three groups that got hammered especially hard during the recession and ask: How are they doing now?
Feb 02, 2018
What America Sells To The World
U.S. exports include airplanes, education and lots of blood.
Feb 01, 2018
Janet Yellen's Mystery Story
It's Janet Yellen's last week running the Federal Reserve. A speech she gave last year illuminates an economic mystery — and the boldness she brought to the Fed.
Jan 31, 2018
Weed GDP
When Canada decided to legalize marijuana, James Tebrake decided to learn everything he could about Canada's marijuana economy.
Jan 30, 2018
The Black Car Fund
There's lots of talk about the problems of the gig economy. On today's show, we talk about a solution.
Jan 29, 2018
Amazon, IPOs, and the Queen of the Demonweb Pits
We play overrated/underrated with Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin. Topics include home ownership, taking a company public, and twin telepathy.
Jan 26, 2018
A Mafia Story With a Twist
Today on the show: citrus, globalization, and the birth of the mafia.
Jan 25, 2018
A Long-Term Bet Gone Bust
Long-term-care insurance seemed like the next big thing. Then insurance companies started losing billions of dollars. What went wrong?
Jan 24, 2018
Google Selfies
Today's Indicator: Your face. It's worth money. It's the next big thing. And, if you're like most of us, you're giving it away.
Jan 23, 2018
I Can't Believe It's Not Budget
The government shutdown was a symptom of a bigger problem: Congress seems incapable of passing a proper budget.
Jan 22, 2018
The Rise and Fall and Rise of Oil Prices
Last summer, the price of oil was $44 a barrel. This week, it briefly hit $70. What happened? And what does it mean for the future of oil prices?
Jan 19, 2018
The Beigies
Welcome to the Beigies, the only awards show honoring the best economic stories in the Fed's Beige Book.
Jan 18, 2018
Saudi Arabia After Oil: An IPO, Tech Jobs, and Yanni
The young crown prince is trying to figure out how to save his country before the money runs out.
Jan 17, 2018
The Case For Earmarks
Congressional earmarks have a bad reputation. But, our guest argues, they're just what America needs.
Jan 16, 2018
The Recession Predictor
There's a warning sign for the economy with an amazing track record. It's not flashing now, but it's close enough to make us nervous.
Jan 12, 2018
Such Cryptocurrency. So Amaze.
Dogecoin, a bitcoin spinoff created as a joke, is now worth $1.4 billion. The coin's creator tells us how the joke became real — and explains why he has mixed feelings about the whole thing.
Jan 11, 2018
The War On Coal
President Trump's Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, had a plan to prop up the coal industry. This week, a federal commission—led by a Trump appointee—rejected it.
Jan 10, 2018
Why Quitting Is Awesome
The state of the American job market, as revealed by jobs numbers released this morning.
Jan 09, 2018
What To Do About Inequality
A lot of popular plans for boosting middle-class wages don't work as well as as they used to. Here are a few ideas that might work now.
Jan 08, 2018
Hidden Gems of the Jobs Report
Here are three illuminating but largely overlooked numbers from today's jobs report.
Jan 05, 2018
Just Another Manic January
It's going to be a huge month for economic policy.
Jan 04, 2018
Corruption, Protests, and the Price of Eggs in Iran
Thousands of people are protesting in the streets of Iran. Part of the reason: the price of eggs just went through the roof.
Jan 03, 2018
The Next Debt Crunch
The U.S. economy is doing great. Here's something to worry about.
Jan 02, 2018
The 50-Year Newspaper
Daily news coverage gives us a lopsided view of the world. What would the top stories be if we only got a news update once every 50 years?
Dec 29, 2017
Our Indicators Of The Year
Despite all the protectionist rhetoric, global trade grew really quickly this year. Also: a crazy, 80-year ride from sun god to TMI.
Dec 27, 2017
How Airfare Is Changing
Why some routes are getting more expensive while others are getting cheaper.
Dec 22, 2017
Could The Republican Tax Bill Help Democrats Later?
The Democrats have been struggling with a problem for a while now. The new tax bill could ultimately help them solve it.
Dec 20, 2017
The Toll Also Rises
Basic economics says a new toll for commuters makes everybody better off. But what if basic economics is wrong?
Dec 18, 2017
Forget Neutrality
Most Americans have at most one choice for broadband internet. On today's show: How it got that way, and what it means for the debate over net neutrality.
Dec 15, 2017
Full Employment: Are We There Yet?
Why is it so hard to figure out when the economy is at full employment? And why does the Fed keep getting it wrong?
Dec 13, 2017
Bitcoin, Unemployment, and Mythical Beasts
Our guest, Tyler Cowen, has smart insights into a ridiculously wide range of subjects. Our conversation is a lightning round that touches everything from the stock market to dystopian novels.
Dec 11, 2017
Where's My Raise?
The unemployment rate is really low, but wages are barely rising. What's going on?
Dec 08, 2017
Loopholes And Deficits
Republicans have been complaining about deficits forever. This was their big chance to do something. Why didn't they?
Dec 06, 2017
Power Pinch
The history of sexual harassment training videos, and the surprising insight it gives us into the current wave of sexual harassment cases.
Dec 04, 2017
Coming Soon
A new podcast from the people who make Planet Money.
Dec 01, 2017