The Indicator from Planet Money


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Reviews: 26

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Gab M
 Jun 22, 2019
Great podcast, on a range of interesting topics. very entertaining.


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
Of Diet Coke And Nobel Prizes
We talk to newly-minted Nobel Prize winner Michael Kremer about using economics to solve real-world problems and what it's like to receive his field's highest honor.
Oct 15, 2019
What The %!&$# Is The Repo Market?
Lots of people have been freaking out over the repo market... but what IS the repo market?
Oct 11, 2019
The U.S. And Global Economy: A New Relationship
The global economy used to have a simple rule: the US leads, everybody else follows. Things have changed.
Oct 10, 2019
The Cost Of Climate Change
Climate activists have long used political and social pressures to decrease the use of fossil fuels and preserve forests... but now many are following the money to try and affect change.
Oct 09, 2019
Five Economic Firsts
We're seeing a lot of firsts in this economy. Some good, some not so good, some surprising.
Oct 08, 2019
Forever 21's Fast Fashion Fail
Forever 21's bankruptcy filing highlights the flaws in fast fashion.
Oct 07, 2019
Jobs Friday: Crunching The Numbers
On the first Friday of every month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a jobs report which includes the number of new jobs added to the U.S. economy. But how is that number calculated?
Oct 04, 2019
How Iceland's Tourism Bubble Deflated
The tourism explosion in Iceland helped the tiny island recover from the 2008 financial crisis, but did the tourism industry grow too big, too fast?
Oct 03, 2019
The Rise And Fall Of Iceland's WOW Air
A budget airline, WOW Air, helped fly the tiny island nation of Iceland out of a financial crisis — but then it all came crashing down.
Oct 02, 2019
Is Cash Overrated? And Other Questions
We play Overrated, Underrated with Jill Schlesinger, CBS business analyst and author of The Dumb Things Smart People Do With Their Money.
Oct 01, 2019
What's Gonna Trip Us Up In Q4?
Another quarter ends today, but the news is nuts right now, so we take a step back and guide you through the big themes we'll be looking at in the fourth quarter of the year.
Sep 30, 2019
Finance Fridays With Mary, Volume 6: Nuns & Guns
In an attempt to stem the tide of gun violence, a group of religious organizations turned to an unlikely place: the markets.
Sep 27, 2019
The Probiotics Heist
Probiotics are increasingly popular — flying off of the shelves, even being stolen from pharmacies. But the jury's still out on their safety and efficacy. So, how did they get on store shelves?
Sep 26, 2019
Millennial Mythbusting
Data shows that many of the popular assumptions about millennials are dead wrong.
Sep 25, 2019
How Much Are Thoughts And Prayers Worth?
A gesture which is given out freely to victims of big, catastrophic events are thoughts and prayers. But what if you could assign a monetary value to this gesture?
Sep 24, 2019
Our Five Favorite Fun Facts & Figures
We stumble on interesting nuggets of economic information all the time. Here are some of our recent favorites.
Sep 23, 2019
Finance Fridays With Mary, Volume 5: Why Fees Matter
Do hedge funds and private equity firms charge too much money to their investors — including, potentially, your pension fund?
Sep 20, 2019
Unsung Economists: Edith Penrose
Edith Penrose transformed our understanding of how businesses grow, and also lived a remarkable life full of adventure, intrigue, and tragedy.
Sep 19, 2019
What Separates Urgent Care And The ER? Your Bill.
Urgent care centers look a lot like emergency rooms. But they're a lot cheaper, both for patients and operators.
Sep 18, 2019
Physical Stores Are Back, Again
Brands are struggling to strike a balance between the real and digital worlds.
Sep 17, 2019
An Attack On Saudi Arabia's Oil
What the attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil production facilities could mean for the global oil industry.
Sep 16, 2019
How China Transformed The Luxury Goods Market
Chinese consumers not only account for a growing share of high-end luxury goods purchases; they're transforming the way the market works.
Sep 13, 2019
The White Claw Tax Law Flaw
White Claw could be the hottest alcoholic beverage of the summer of 2019. You can thank tax policy for (some of) that.
Sep 12, 2019
The Debt That Never Dies: China's Imperial Bonds
Bonds issued by Chinese governments more than a century ago could come back to haunt the People's Republic of China.
Sep 11, 2019
The Olympic Bounce
When new sports are added to the Olympics — like surfing and sports climbing — they see a bump in the year following the games. But, what happens after that?
Sep 10, 2019
Listener Q&A, Another Policy Wonkout
NPR politics correspondent Danielle Kurtzleben answers your questions about student loans, taxes and tariffs.
Sep 09, 2019
Jobs Friday: Future Edition
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has some predictions about the future of the US labor market.
Sep 06, 2019
Tech's Convenience Store
Amazon is opening new stores — in the real world. And in true Big Tech fashion the experience is meant to emphasize convenience. All you need to do is walk in, grab your stuff, and go.
Sep 05, 2019
What Medicare For All Might Mean For Jobs
Proponents of Medicare for All argue it'll give all Americans health insurance and cost less. But even supporters admit it could mean job losses in the short term.
Sep 04, 2019
How A String Quartet Explains Healthcare Costs
The costs of education and healthcare have climbed faster than other prices throughout the economy — for decades. An under-appreciated economic theory explains why.
Sep 03, 2019
Finance Fridays With Mary, Volume 4: The Worry of Wall Street
There's a trend emerging in the finance world: Billionaire financiers are increasingly — if belatedly? — acknowledging inequality in America.
Aug 30, 2019
America's Rare Earth Conundrum
America doesn't produce much in the way of rare earths. As the trade war with China intensifies, that's becoming a problem.
Aug 29, 2019
Listener Q&A, Policy Wonkout Edition
Policy can take a back seat to politics in the run-up to elections. But that's no excuse for not watching to see what effects policy can have on an economy.
Aug 28, 2019
Not All Goods Are Traded Equal
Not all goods are created equal: some are exempt from tariffs.
Aug 27, 2019
More Money, More Votes?
The 2020 election cycle is almost in full swing. People can barely go a day without seeing an ad from candidates asking for money. But does more money really mean more votes?
Aug 26, 2019
Finance Friday With Mary, Volume 3: Snack-Sized Questions
Our inbox is pretty much always filled with great questions about business, the economy and how the markets behave. Today, we answer three questions specific to the financial world.
Aug 23, 2019
The Economics of Music Festivals
Music festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza have gotten a lot more expensive, and the reasons behind that increase can tell us a lot about how the economy is changing.
Aug 22, 2019
The R-Word
Our inbox is chock full of listener questions about whether there's a recession coming, and what we should do about it. Today, we answer.
Aug 21, 2019
Why China's Buying Rice From America
China is the world's biggest rice producer. So why did China agree to buy two shipping containers of rice from the U.S.?
Aug 20, 2019
Trump And Trade: The Point Of No Return?
President Trump has kept his protectionist promises, but his scorched earth approach to dealmaking could have damaged global trading relationships for good.
Aug 19, 2019
The Gender Gap Series: The Problem With The Pink Tax
Women pay more than men for many consumer products. Why some economists say that's a good thing.
Aug 16, 2019
The Gender Gap Series: Tampons - That Bloody Sales Tax
Most states in the U.S. have a sales tax on menstrual products. Some states have repealed this so-called Tampon Tax, on the grounds that it's unfair to women. But the repeals come at a cost.
Aug 15, 2019
The Gender Gap Series: 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.
Aug 14, 2019
The Gender Gap Series: Working Women- Why the U.S. is Behind
When it came to the female labor force participation rate, America used to lead the world. But we've fallen behind. Today on the show: What happened?
Aug 13, 2019
The Gender Gap Series: Where The Gender Pay Gap Is Widest
A report from Glassdoor reveals which industries have the starkest gender pay gaps.
Aug 12, 2019
Finance Fridays With Mary, Volume 2: Short Selling
Short sellers are investors who bet against companies. They're the detectives of the stock market, unearthing flaws and making markets more efficient, though they also attract controversy.
Aug 09, 2019
Sports Teams Need To Fill Stadiums
Sporting event attendance is down. So teams are trying out creative, new ways to win back fans.
Aug 08, 2019
Why Grad Students Are Taking On More Debt
Graduate students are increasingly shouldering the country's student debt.
Aug 07, 2019
Currency Wars & A Pepperoni Problem
Listener questions! How the U.S.-China trade war has escalated, including a move by China to devalue its currency. Plus the history of pepperoni on pizza.
Aug 06, 2019
The Delicate Macho Movie Brand
The stars of the new Fast & Furious movie will go to extraordinary lengths to protect their "tough guy" brands, even going so far as to negotiate to make sure their characters never lose a fight.
Aug 05, 2019
Jobs Friday Meets Listener Q&A
Happy Jobs Friday! The U.S. economy created 164,000 jobs in July, and the unemployment rate remained unchanged. But to send you into your weekend with more pep, we answer some listener questions.
Aug 02, 2019
The View From The Boardroom
Some presidential candidates have supported a policy — known as co-determination — that would see workers represented on corporate boards. We talked to one worker who already has a seat at the table.
Aug 01, 2019
Workers Take A Seat At The Table?
The board of directors for most U.S. companies is made up of shareholders--not workers. A corporate system called co-determination aims to put employees at the table where big decisions are made.
Jul 31, 2019
Stacey vs Cardiff: The Fed Cut Throwdown!
The economy's looking pretty good. So, do we really need a rate cut right now? Stacey and Cardiff duke it out.
Jul 30, 2019
It's Check-Up Time, America!
The Federal Reserve is set to cut interest rates this week. We also just passed the half-year mark. Two good reasons to check in on the health of the U.S. economy.
Jul 29, 2019
America's Tijuana Tech Boom
A growing workforce of high-tech specialists is luring American companies to Tijuana
Jul 26, 2019
Waiting For The Tariff Storm
The trade war between the U.S. and China started a little over a year ago, but the oft-predicted economic storm is yet to break.
Jul 25, 2019
The Fed Cuts Loose?
An economic principle that has guided the Federal Reserve for decades is increasingly being questioned.
Jul 24, 2019
Rhino Bonds
Investors will soon be able to bet on black rhinos. A conservation group is rolling out a 5 year, 50 million dollar rhino bond to help save the species.
Jul 23, 2019
Rethinking Economics
Jared Bernstein has a shortlist of economic ideas that he thinks his colleagues have been getting wrong for decades.
Jul 22, 2019
Women, Men And Hedge Funds
Introducing a new series: Finance Fridays With Mary!
Jul 19, 2019
Gold Rush 2.0
The price of gold is at a six-year high and gold bugs say it's the safest place to put your money in uncertain times. But is it actually a good investment?
Jul 18, 2019
Yield Curve: You Asked, We Answer
The yield curve is inverted! We answer a few questions we have gotten from our listeners about our beloved recession predicting indicator.
Jul 17, 2019
Tricking Myself Into Paying My Student Loans
About 44 million people owe nearly 1.5 trillion dollars in student loans all together. But for some people — like our producer Darius Rafieyan — paying them requires some mental adjustments.
Jul 16, 2019
Can GIPHY Make It Rain?
GIPHY makes those viral mini-videos that people use to color their texts and emails. They're super popular, but they're free. So how does GIPHY plan to make money?
Jul 15, 2019
Bitcoin's Energy Bill
The computers that mine Bitcoin use a lot of electricity. That's created some unique arbitrage opportunities in different parts of the world. And causing governments some concern.
Jul 12, 2019
Japan's Worker Shortage
Japan's worker shortage has gotten so bad it's forced some companies to declare bankruptcy. The solution? Telling workers to work less.
Jul 11, 2019
Deutsche Bank Breaks The Pizza Barrier
One of the biggest international banks--Deutsche Bank--is laying off 18,000 workers and cutting costs to try and save itself from going under. How did things get so bad?
Jul 10, 2019
Is LA Ready For A Big Earthquake?
Last week's California quakes have reinforced fears of "the big one", the high-magnitude trembler that seismologists say is inevitable. How ready is the city of Los Angeles?
Jul 09, 2019
Jobs Friday...On Monday
The monthly pace of jobs growth has slowed this year. But that's not necessarily a problem.
Jul 08, 2019
The American Economy Of 1776
A look at the assets and liabilities of the American colonies on the eve of revolution.
Jul 05, 2019
The Cows Are Taking All The Land
The U.S. is a big place, nearly 1.9 billion acres. On today's Indicator, we look at how all that land is divvied up.
Jul 03, 2019
Listener Questions: Consumption & A New Curriculum
Today we answer listener questions: why is so much consumption necessary for a healthy economy (or as our listener put it — why do we have to buy so much crap for the economy to be healthy?). Plus, what are some good economic resources for teenagers?
Jul 02, 2019
Amazon #FAIL...?
One of the largest companies in the world, Amazon, just shuttered its food delivery service, Amazon Restaurants. But Amazon's fails are a bit different.
Jul 01, 2019
The Rise Of American Oil
What it means that the U.S. is now the biggest consumer and producer of crude oil in the world.
Jun 28, 2019
The Private Firefighter Industry
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West got a lot of blowback for using private firefighters to protect their California home from a wildfire. Today on The Indicator, the business of private firefighting.
Jun 27, 2019
Niche Sports Cashing In
Basketball, football and baseball may draw big crowds and score primetime television spots, but niche sports, like cornhole, axe throwing and even professional arm wrestling, are beginning to attract interest and money.
Jun 26, 2019
The Protest Tipping Point
If you're considering a popular uprising against a government, it turns out there may be a recipe that can almost guarantee your success.
Jun 25, 2019
The Rise Of The Blue-Collar Noncompete
Traditionally, noncompete clauses have been reserved for whiter collar professionals. But as the labor market tightens, employers increasingly want blue-collar workers to adhere to these agreements too.
Jun 24, 2019
Women's Soccer Sues For Equal Pay
The U.S. women's soccer team is way more successful than the men's. Yet they say they get paid less than half, on average, compared to the men's team.
Jun 21, 2019
Slack Goes Public
Shares in the online chat service Slack hit the stock market today. But Slack went public in an unconventional way.
Jun 20, 2019
This week Facebook announced plans for its own cryptocurrency, the Libra. Regulators are cautious, and no one really knows how it will work. But Wall Street is excited.
Jun 19, 2019
Japan's Inflation Gamble
Japan is still recovering from a brutal recession that lasted ten years. The country has tried a variety of fiscal and monetary measures to bring its economy back.
Jun 18, 2019
The Economic Expansion Turns 10!
The U.S is about to mark the longest economic expansion in its history. It's an impressive achievement, but in many ways the economy is still struggling.
Jun 17, 2019
Animal Spirits
People hear the word 'economics' and probably think: numbers, equations, and percentages. But hidden underneath the math, is a force that can't be quantified.
Jun 14, 2019
The Governor Is Suing My Hometown
The mayor of Huntington Beach says he wants less housing development in his city. The governor of California says that's against the law.
Jun 13, 2019
The Water Marketplace
New rules governing water use in California have sparked innovation in agribusiness, including a brand new market for water.
Jun 12, 2019
Your Questions: Meatless Meat And GDP
Today we answer listener questions: How does U.S. gross domestic product break down into different industries, and how do meat alternatives compare to the real thing?
Jun 11, 2019
The introduction of the three-point line changed how people play basketball. And it has some compelling parallels to economics.
Jun 10, 2019
Jobs Friday: Summer Slowdown Edition
Happy Jobs Friday! The labor market is showing signs of slowing down. The unemployment rate is still low at 3.6 percent, but only 75,000 jobs were added in the month of May — a lot fewer than what economists expected.
Jun 07, 2019
The Battle For The Office Thermostat
Office temperature can affect more than comfort; a recent study shows it has serious implications for productivity. We talked to one economist who quantified the effects of temperature on men and women.
Jun 06, 2019
Returning To Paradise
The deadliest wildfire in California's history destroyed thousands of homes in Butte County. The area is still an active disaster zone. But insurance companies are making residents move back.
Jun 05, 2019
All WeWork And No Play
Co-working spaces might just be the future of work. Take WeWork. It's been cropping up in cities all over the world--borrowing billions to fuel its growth. Now, it's planning to go public.
Jun 04, 2019
Weaponized Interdependence: The End of Globalization?
The trade war between the U.S. and China is challenging a long-standing assumption about globalization — that economic ties between countries would deepen with minimal political interference.
Jun 03, 2019
Why Is Trump Threatening Mexico (Again)?
President Trump has threatened to impose new tariffs on Mexico unless the country stops the flow of migrants entering the U.S. But, Mexico is one of the biggest trade partner the U.S. has.
May 31, 2019
The Super-Villain Economist
The Avengers super-villain Thanos saw the universe as a place of too many people and too few resources: a classic economic dilemma. His solution: Kill half the population.
May 30, 2019
An Economist Goes To The Hospital
Economist Jared Bernstein recently survived a brain hemorrhage. The experience got him thinking about some of the economics in our healthcare system.
May 29, 2019
Is Time Really On Your Side?
Economics is all about scarcity — and time is a scarce resource. We talk to economist Daniel Hamermesh, whose new book Spending Time examines time's complicated relationship to money, stress, and gender.
May 28, 2019
What Trump's Latest Aid Package Means For Farmers
President Trump announced an aid package for farmers yesterday worth $16 billion. It's meant to offset losses from the trade war with China. We spoke to one U.S. farmer about how helpful it will be.
May 24, 2019
Canada's Tariff Hangover
Canada and the U.S. have come to an agreement on trade, and lifted their punitive tariffs on each other's goods. But some small businesses are still feeling the pain.
May 23, 2019
What Surfing Can Teach Us About Risk
Surfing and financial markets have a lot in common when it comes to taking and managing risk.
May 22, 2019
The Nordic Paradox
Norway is regarded as one of the most progressive nations in the world when it comes to encouraging female participation in the workforce. Yet the country still has relatively few female business leaders.
May 21, 2019
Economy Of Thrones
We have five economic indicators to help you understand the world of Game of Thrones.
May 20, 2019
Is Buying A Home A Bad Investment?
Home ownership used to be a central pillar of the American Dream. Today, maybe not so much.
May 17, 2019
The Real Minimum Wage
Many states and cities have their own minimum wages, which are higher than the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour. One economist calculated a single measure that accounts for all those differences.
May 16, 2019
Psssst...Want To Buy A Tarantula?
The market for animal smuggling is relatively new. But it's gotten really big, really fast.
May 15, 2019
The World's Identity Crisis
Around one in seven people do not have any official ID, according to the World Bank.
May 14, 2019
Does The Deficit Matter?
Budget deficits used to be seen as a bad thing. Today, not so much...and some economists even say they don't really matter. What changed?
May 13, 2019
Wyatt Cenac On School Funding... And Thor
The comedian and former Daily Show correspondent takes on complex social issues in his HBO show, Problem Areas. He discusses his approach to melding comedy with social commentary.
May 10, 2019
Will China Overtake The US?
China is so big and growing so fast that many people say it will inevitably become a bigger economy than the U.S. in every way. But there are several good reasons for skepticism.
May 09, 2019
The Problem With Banning Plastic Bags
Plastic bags are no boon to the environment — but banning them might be worse.
May 08, 2019
Subway's Five-Dollar Footlong Fail?
Subway has more restaurants in the U.S. than any other fast food company. It did spectacularly well during the recession thanks, in part, to it's famous $5 footlong deal. But that deal has come back to haunt it.
May 07, 2019
Japanese Womenomics
Women have long been an untapped economic resource in Japan. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided to change that. Six years after he launched "womenomics," is it working?
May 06, 2019
Jobs Friday: The Part-Time Penalty
Part-time workers make less per hour than full-time workers do. That has big implications for women and mothers.
May 03, 2019
All The Bucks On Broadway
The Tony nominations were announced this week and that got us does the business of Broadway work?
May 02, 2019
The Fed's Messaging Dilemma
Right now the economy looks good, but inflation is lower than the Federal Reserve would like. A future rate cut could juice prices, but the messaging has to be right.
May 01, 2019
How Grocery Shelves Get Stacked
The pay-to-play way your supermarket's shelves work.
Apr 30, 2019
Where The Gender Pay Gap Is Widest
A report from Glassdoor reveals which industries have the starkest gender pay gaps.
Apr 29, 2019
Why Superman Doesn't Take Over The World
Superman could easily take over the world. But there are some good economic reasons why he doesn't.
Apr 26, 2019
Selling A T-Rex On eBay
On eBay right now: A baby T-Rex. The price? $2.95 million.
Apr 25, 2019
Is Everything Awesome In The Economy?
The first few months of 2019 looked troubling. But now we seem to be on the upswing.
Apr 24, 2019
What Happened To U.S. Workers?
The share of people ages 25 to 54 in the labor force has fallen in the past couple of decades. What happened? Listen to an excerpt from our live event with the Financial Times Alphachat.
Apr 23, 2019
The Traffic Tariff
New York will soon charge drivers to enter the most crowded parts of the city. Congestion pricing: Does it work? Who's doing it? And is it coming to a city near you?
Apr 22, 2019
A Brief History of Income Taxes
Taxes have been around forever. But the income tax? In the U.S., it's relatively recent.
Apr 18, 2019
Why Do Introverts Get Paid Less?
There's a gap in career earnings between introverts and extroverts.
Apr 17, 2019
Why Do We Still Use QWERTY Keyboards?
The story behind the first six keyboard letters are driven by economics.
Apr 16, 2019
The Cost Of Measles
The cost of a measles outbreak - to individuals, families, communities, and the country - is high.
Apr 15, 2019
Solving Problems Caused By International Trade
Free trade may solve problems for businesses transacting across borders, but it can make life painful for their workers.
Apr 12, 2019
How Trade Helps Explain Inequality
Trade makes for peaceful relationships between nations, but gains for consumers and workers aren't spread evenly.
Apr 11, 2019
The Maple Syrup Cartel
Prices for most agricultural products change with supply and demand. Not maple syrup.
Apr 10, 2019
Trade War With Cheese: Trump's New EU Tariffs
A new round of U.S. tariffs could hit European wine, cheese, aircraft, and escargots.
Apr 09, 2019
How To Measure Happiness
The U.S. is one of the world's largest economies, but it lags when it comes to happiness: the World Happiness Report ranks America number 19.
Apr 08, 2019
Jobs Friday: Chillaxing Edition
Happy Jobs Friday! The economy is still adding jobs, unemployment remains low, and wage growth is fine. It's all good...right?
Apr 05, 2019
The China Corruption Crackdown: Sincere Or Cynical?
A recent paper examines the motivations behind Xi Jinping's corruption crackdown and arrives at a surprising answer.
Apr 04, 2019
The 20-Year Quest To Save Nutella
Global demand for hazelnuts is growing, thanks to the popularity of products like Nutella. So it should be a great time to be in the hazelnut business... but there's one big problem.
Apr 03, 2019
What Sex Work Reveals About Risk
Allison Schrager is an economist and journalist who visited a number of brothels to examine how we understand and deal with risk.
Apr 02, 2019
A Crisis Of Consumer Confidence?
The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index is one of the indicators retailers, policy-makers and manufacturers use to gauge the health of the economy. But what is the index, exactly?
Apr 01, 2019
An Indicator In The Hand
On the one hand, you could say the economy's looking rocky; on the other hand you could argue it's in good health. We lay out both sides.
Mar 29, 2019
Dry Cleaners, Housing, The Stock Market And Rip It
Today, answers to your questions on dry cleaner pricing, and the comparative investment virtues of the housing and stock markets.
Mar 28, 2019
An Economist in Caracas: Day In The Life
Gabriela Saade is a 27-year-old economist in Caracas, Venezuela. Yesterday, she walked us through Venezuela's staggering numbers. Today, we walk a mile in her shoes.
Mar 27, 2019
Venezuela By The Numbers
The crisis in Venezuela continues to deepen, with nationwide blackouts hitting the country again this week. Today, we talk to a Caracas-based economist about what's happening in her country.
Mar 26, 2019
Spotify's Long, Winding Road To India
Spotify recently launched in India, but that path was long and complicated. We take the experience of Spotify and use it as a lens to look at why breaking into India is so difficult.
Mar 25, 2019
Are Neighbors Overrated? (And Other Questions)
The latest edition of "Overrated, Underrated" with economist Tyler Cowen.
Mar 22, 2019
Lyft Going Public: The Dual-Class Share Dilemma
All shares of stock are not created equal. Stock can come in different classes now: Class A, Class B. Some of this stock comes with superpowers... and some of it comes with almost no power at all.
Mar 21, 2019
Why Are Venezuelans Starving?
Venezuelans are starving because there isn't enough food. But the country has so much fertile land, water, and sunshine — shouldn't it be a farmer's paradise?
Mar 20, 2019
Coffee? Thank U, Next
Your average cup of coffee is getting more expensive — but the price for coffee beans is going down. How can that be?
Mar 19, 2019
The Cost Of Student Debt
Should you take out a student loan? Jill Schlesinger, author of "The Dumb Things Smart People Do With Their Money," does the math.
Mar 18, 2019
Buying A College Degree: Did Aunt Becky Overpay?
The scandal that dominated the news this week involved parents paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their kids into the right college. But what is a college degree really worth?
Mar 15, 2019
Saying 'I Do' To Lab-Grown Diamonds
A lot of money is pouring into the global diamond industry, but demand for diamonds has been less than lustrous of late. But, at the same time, money has been pouring into the industry. Why? We have on our hands – a four carat mystery.
Mar 14, 2019
The Economy Inside Your Head
Economics looks at how we make decisions in a world of scarce resources. What happens when the scarce resource is our attention?
Mar 13, 2019
A Tale Of Two Dollar Stores
Dollar stores thrived during the economic downturn--opening thousands of locations across the country. They were recession-proof...but are they recovery-proof?
Mar 12, 2019
March Madness: Britain Leaving The EU
Leaving the EU is unprecedented, but leaving a large trading bloc is not.
Mar 11, 2019
Gender Segregation In The Workplace
The most common jobs for men and the most common jobs for women tend to be different — and this separation has big effects for everyone.
Mar 08, 2019
Inequality In America
Technology is bringing us closer together, but it's also making the world a more unequal place.
Mar 07, 2019
Tampons: That Bloody Sales Tax
Most states in the U.S. have a sales tax on menstrual products. Some states have repealed this so-called Tampon Tax, on the grounds that it's unfair to women. But the repeals come at a cost.
Mar 06, 2019
Trade War And Peace
Trade negotiators from China and the U.S. seem to be closing in on a deal. But it's not clear what the terms will be.
Mar 05, 2019
5 Misconceptions About The Chinese Economy
Five things that a lot of people get wrong about the world's second largest economy - and what robots and zombies have to do with it.
Mar 04, 2019
Who Is The Neoliberal Shill Of The Year?
"Neoliberalism" has become a loaded term.
Mar 01, 2019
Dancing On The Debt Ceiling
Tomorrow is the day the U.S. hits its debt limit. What happens if Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling?
Feb 28, 2019
More Debt, Less Problems
Americans have more consumer debt, and they're also in better financial health. How can that be?
Feb 27, 2019
TV Vs. Video Games: Who's Winning?
Both video games and television have radically improved in the past two decades. Have they also changed the way Americans spend their time?
Feb 26, 2019
Payday Loans And Debt Traps
Earlier this month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced payday regulations would be delayed. We look at the business of payday loans, and what it's like to get into a debt cycle with payday lenders.
Feb 25, 2019
Unsung Economists #1: Sadie Alexander
Sadie Alexander was the first African-American to earn a PhD in economics. We think her contributions deserve another look.
Feb 22, 2019
Investing: Wait For It...?
Personal finance specialist, author and former trader Jill Schlesinger explains market timing--that is, trying to figure out when to buy and sell stock--and why it's a fool's errand.
Feb 21, 2019
Why Americans Can't Quit Tipping
Tipping is ingrained in America's retail culture. And there's not much we can do to stop that.
Feb 20, 2019
The Super Bowl: Key Housing Indicator
Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman told us last year that Super Bowl weekend is one of the most accurate indicators of the health of the housing market for the year ahead. Well, the Patriots won - what happened with housing?
Feb 19, 2019
What Does "National Emergency" Actually Mean?
President Trump asked Congress for funds to build an extension of the wall on the border with Mexico. Congress refused, so Trump declared a national emergency. But what does that mean?
Feb 15, 2019
Your Questions, Answered ❤️
Today we answer listener questions about age discrimination; how work hours are counted; and whether the economy is running out of people to take jobs.
Feb 14, 2019
The Strike That Changed U.S. Labor
The 1937 union agreement between GM and the United Auto Workers union ushered in a period of strength for organized labor. Today, labor is nowhere near as powerful as it used to be. What happened?
Feb 13, 2019
Fortnite Vs. Backpack Kid: Dance Battle Royale
An Instagram celebrity and a video game company are battling over who gets to own a dance move once it goes viral.
Feb 12, 2019
How Violence Limits Economic Activity
Economist Lisa Cook examined how race riots, lynchings, and segregation at the turn of the 20th century reduced the number of patents filed by African-Americans.
Feb 11, 2019
Small Town Boom
Small towns in rural areas across America are seeing a regeneration to advance technology, jobs and economic prospects.
Feb 08, 2019
The Disease Detectives
The dedicated officers of the epidemic intelligence service are foot soldiers in a relentless battle against infectious disease.
Feb 07, 2019
India's Poverty Paradox
India's government has proposed a plan to pay some of the country's poorest farmers a guaranteed income. What would this mean for the country's economy?
Feb 06, 2019
The Fed's Sweet Spot For Interest Rates
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell says inflation isn't a problem right now, and that the short term interest rate, at 2.5 percent, is right where it should be.
Feb 05, 2019
Parts of America are in the grip of a cold snap. Others are being drenched by rain. How do we measure the cost of extreme weather conditions? We called a scientist to find out. It turns out storms are getting more and more expensive.
Feb 04, 2019
The Jobs Friday 5
Jobs: Is the economy creating enough of them? Are they paying more than they used to? Do people have the jobs they want? All this and more.
Feb 01, 2019
Lights Out For PG&E?
How the once fairly-stable business of public utilities is changing.
Jan 31, 2019
How To Price A Government Shutdown
The Congressional Budget Office estimated the economic impact of the longest shutdown in history.
Jan 30, 2019
A Bond Is Born
How the invention of the government bond saved a bunch of mid-level politicians from certain death and became one of the most important pieces of financial technology the world has ever seen.
Jan 29, 2019
Globalization At Davos: What Happened?
The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland is supposedly an unabashed celebration of globalization. Not this year.
Jan 28, 2019
The End Of The Shutdown?
The shutdown is over... for now. Today on the Indicator, we talk to one of the 800,000 formerly-furloughed federal employees about his experience of the shutdown.
Jan 25, 2019
HAIL To College Access
An economics experiment that streamlines the application and financial aid process for low-income students.
Jan 24, 2019
When Tariffs Hit Home
How the trade war with China is playing out on one peanut farm in Georgia.
Jan 23, 2019
Shooting Bambi To Save Mother Nature
The number of hunters in the U.S. is falling, which is bad news for wildlife conservation.
Jan 22, 2019
What Keeps Economists Up At Night? And Other Stuff
We armed The Indicator's producers with your questions, and they unleashed them on a roomful of economists at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association.
Jan 18, 2019
R.I.P. Jack Bogle, Democratizer Of Investing
John Clifton "Jack" Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group, passed away yesterday at the age of 89. Today we look back at his life and career.
Jan 17, 2019
The Extremely Cautious Case For Extremely Mild Optimism
Interest rates are higher, global growth is slowing, and the government is at an impasse. But there are also reasons for near-term optimism about the U.S. economy.
Jan 16, 2019
Working Women: Why The U.S. Is Behind
When it came to the female labor force participation rate, America used to lead the world. But we've fallen behind. Today on the show: what happened?
Jan 15, 2019
10,000 Economists Walk Into A Bar
Which economic indicators do we pay too much attention to? Not enough? It's Overrated/Underrated: Economic Indicator edition
Jan 14, 2019
Shutdown Economics
The U.S. partial government shutdown is on track to be the longest in history. Whatever its political consequences, the economic costs to the private sector will increase the longer it lasts.
Jan 11, 2019
U.S.-China Trade: Where Are We Now?
Today on The Indicator: an update on the trade spat between China and the U.S.
Jan 10, 2019
Are We Ready For A Recession?
Some signals on the economic dashboard are warning we could be heading for a downturn within a couple of years. Are we ready to fight off a recession?
Jan 09, 2019
Don't Fear The Fear Index
2018 was one of the most volatile stock market years on record. And the market continues volatile today. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Jan 08, 2019
Jobs, Inflation And The Phillips Curve
The Fed chair and his two predecessors speak at a big conference about Friday's stellar jobs report, and why, despite what the Phillips Curve might predict, they're not too worried about inflation
Jan 07, 2019
Economists On Screen, Episode 4: Stockholm
The miniseries Stockholm tells the story of a group of friends, one of whom is a frontrunner for the Nobel Prize in economics. But there's a problem: he's dead.
Jan 04, 2019
Economists On Screen, Episode 3: Aaron Sorkin
Shows developed by Aaron Sorkin included a lot of economics. We look at free trade in The West Wing, and Glass-Steagall in The Newsroom.
Jan 03, 2019
Economists On Screen, Episode 2: Jack Ryan, CIA Economist
In Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, the lead character is an economist in the CIA, tracking down terrorists by following their money.
Jan 02, 2019
Economists On Screen, Episode 1: Crazy Rich Asians
Explaining the game theory in the plot of the movie Crazy Rich Asians.
Dec 31, 2018
Indicators Of The Year: #MeToo
The #MeToo movement transformed the experience of women in the workplace. The strong job market helped some women feel secure enough to come forward... but for others, it still doesn't feel safe to speak up.
Dec 28, 2018
Indicators Of The Year: Opioids
The opioid problem has reached into all parts of American life, including the workplace. But the workplace could be key in addressing the problem.
Dec 27, 2018
Indicators Of The Year: Housing
2018 was a rough year for the housing market. We take a look at what happened.
Dec 26, 2018
Indicators Of The Year: Immigration
Applications for H-1B work visas fell 16 percent in 2018 from 2017. Does that mean the U.S. could lose its edge in attracting global talent?
Dec 24, 2018
Friends Of The Indicator, Pt 2
Our pals Josh Barro of New York Magazine and Jennifer Doleac from Texas A&M tell us what they're keeping an eye on in 2019.
Dec 21, 2018
Friends Of The Indicator, Pt 1
What are the best indicators for 2019? Some of our best friends tell us what they'll be watching.
Dec 20, 2018
You've Got Mail!
Depression severity, Australia's housing market and the minimum wage. You asked: here are some answers.
Dec 19, 2018
The Crypto Crash
Cryptocurrency had a rough 2018. The big cryptos lost about 80% of their value. So what happened? Is crypto poised for a comeback or are we talking tulips?
Dec 18, 2018
Lowlights Of The Year
We commemorate some of the darkest and funniest business and economic blackspots of the year.
Dec 17, 2018
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