January 24, 2020
We visit a little-known "lost and found" to find out how your money gets in there, and how you can get it back.
January 23, 2020
President Vladimir Putin recently proposed changes to the Russian Constitution in an attempt to consolidate power. Throughline asks, "How did he come to power in the first place?"
January 17, 2020
On today's show, we head to Germany to meet the person who kickstarted the green energy market and learn about the wonky policy tool that helped him do it.
January 16, 2020
You can see billboards, and, increasingly, they can see you. We explore the power of billboards, and we put up our own in Times Square.
January 10, 2020
We asked a bunch of economists at the American Economic Association's annual conference one question: What is the most useful idea in economics?
January 8, 2020
Free is a powerful concept. Everybody likes free things, but free can backfire. On today's show: What happens when you take something that is free, and give it a price?
January 4, 2020
With limited slots and high demand, the NYC Marathon has had to create a clever system to allocate a scarce resource as fairly as possible. Four lessons in fair allocation.
January 1, 2020
In the 1990s, inflation in Brazil was so high that, for a very long time, prices had been increasing every day. Until four drinking buddies from grad school found a way to fix it.
December 27, 2019
We check in on the Universal Postal Union, what happened to the plane that got stuck in Iran, how much Mattress Mack lost betting on baseball, and more.
December 25, 2019
In an era of peak television, screenwriters and their talent agents are fighting over the money. In April, 7,000 screenwriters fired all their agents on the same day.
December 21, 2019
Tom Whitwell made an amazing list of 52 things he learned this year. We dig into our favorite items.
December 19, 2019
When air traffic controllers went on strike in 1981, Reagan gave them 48 hours to get back to work. In that short time, American labor would change forever.
December 14, 2019
Some of the biggest companies in the U.S. are reinventing how employees get paid. Saying you don't have to wait two weeks to get paid anymore. You can get paid every day.
December 11, 2019
A special holiday episode about the epic, decades-long feud between the two companies that make just about every handbell in the world.
December 11, 2019
A special holiday episode about the epic, decades-long feud between the two companies that make just about every handbell in the world.
December 7, 2019
The argument over the constitutionality of wealth taxes has been going on since 1794, when George Washington decided to raise money by taxing the rich, through their carriages.
December 4, 2019
Where there are casinos, there are wannabe cheaters. One group of Russian hackers cracked slot machines with math, iPhones, and a whole lot of swiping.
November 29, 2019
On today's show, Blackbeard the pirate and a fight between two of the most powerful forces in American law: states' rights and property rights.
November 27, 2019
In the 1600s, a good spice rub was the ultimate display of wealth. People would risk their lives for a sack of cloves. On today's show, we cook a recipe from the spice trade days.
November 22, 2019
Millions of foreigners with temporary visas live and work in the US. Some of them want to participate in the elections. What's the line between participating and meddling?
November 20, 2019
There is an alarming trend in the U.S. right now: 7 million people are at least 3 months behind on car payments. It's a record high, but is it a crisis?
November 16, 2019
Sperm banks are whisking DNA around the world. And a sperm banker in Denmark created one of the biggest sperm operations, with help from his mom's freezer... and mad cow disease.
November 13, 2019
There are millions of snakebite victims per year, but antivenom hasn't really changed since its development over 100 years ago. A doctor goes to extremes to find a solution.
November 8, 2019
Tyler Cowen rates the NBA, Karl Marx, Adam Smith, the humanities, your neighbors, and more.
November 6, 2019
A free-love commune of perfectionists in upstate New York embraced the free market, and became a blockbuster brand.
November 2, 2019
Canada has put a price on pollution. The economist behind the idea thought about it more than a century ago.
October 31, 2019
There is one real-life economic monster that can take away your money, your job, and your future: A recession.
October 25, 2019
Baseball is a winner-take-all career path. But income pools could change the way baseball players, and other people in high risk/high reward professions, think about uncertainty.
October 23, 2019
The modern french fry isn't just crispy and delicious, it's a technological marvel.
October 19, 2019
Von Ormy, Texas is a small city with a big dream: To thrive with almost no regulations, property taxes, or debt.
October 19, 2019
Von Ormy, Texas is a small city with a big dream: To thrive with almost no regulations, property taxes, or debt.
October 16, 2019
Charlie Shrem's odyssey in and out of prison is a parable for everything that has happened with bitcoin during its first years: from idealists to outlaws to respectable citizens.
October 11, 2019
We answer some of the most popular questions our listeners had after listening to our recent shows: on baseball cards, the repo market, and the least common American.
October 9, 2019
The Volfefe Index measures how much the President's tweets affect volatility in the bond market. In 2017, we launched our own investing project based on the President's tweets.
October 4, 2019
Masayoshi Son raised the biggest venture capital fund in the history of the world, made WeWork possible, and radically changed the way startups work.
October 2, 2019
Investors can fund lawsuits for profit, which gives more people access to the courts. But some worry it will warp the justice system.
September 28, 2019
Planet Money takes a gamble on three stories about bets gone... every which way.
September 25, 2019
One of the most dramatic things to happen in economics in the last few years was when India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to suddenly "demonetize" the country.
September 20, 2019
Interest rates are low and getting lower. Some are even negative. Which means we live in a weird world, where people are lending out money and getting back less.
September 18, 2019
An automakers' strike against General Motors in the 1930s changed the world of unions forever. Before, striking was dangerous and illegal. Today, it's a fairly civilized business.
September 13, 2019
In the 1970s, Studs Terkel interviewed scores of people about their jobs for his book Working. Today, we hear a few of those conversations — and follow up with the subjects.
September 11, 2019
Behind popular music, there is this hidden economy of music producers buying and selling sonic snippets, texting each other half-finished beats, and angling for back-end royalties.
September 7, 2019
Sometimes to help yourself, you help your enemy. After WWII, the U.S. launched what might be the most successful intervention in history, rebuilding Germany and more.
September 7, 2019
Sometimes to help yourself, you help your enemy. After WWII, the U.S. launched what might be the most successful intervention in history, rebuilding Germany and more.
September 4, 2019
Imagine being the company that makes all the world's dollar bills. We found that company and took a look inside.
August 30, 2019
In the 1990s, the government ran an experiment to test the economic impact of moving people to lower-poverty neighborhoods. The results surprised them.
August 29, 2019
Who is the average American? Bad question. You end up with a clumpy amalgamation of qualities. If you want to know how real people are living, you want the Modal American.
August 23, 2019
How to get the best value from the salad bar? Why do Americans refrigerate their eggs? What's the deal with Choco Pies? It's the food edition of listener questions.
August 21, 2019
A 13-year-old listener wrote in asking if the inverted yield curve means that a recession is on the way. Today on the show, we try to answer him.
August 16, 2019
You need helium to launch rockets into space. It's also essential for MRI machines and cellphones. But the world is running short on helium. So we're going looking for more.
August 14, 2019
Solar energy used to be a fantasy. Then it arrived, but was too expensive for most people to afford. Now it's cheap. Here's how it happened.
August 9, 2019
Counting elephants is key to saving them. But in the rainforest, they're hard to spot. One scientist is listening for them instead, with the help of artificial intelligence.
August 7, 2019
Felipe was an IT professional looking for a new gig. Then a notorious con artist offered him a job. Felipe took the job — and tried to con the con man.
August 3, 2019
Scientists have been studying twins for a long time, trying to figure out how much of human behavior is influenced by the environment, and how much of it is in our genes.
July 31, 2019
We shorted America, taking a bet against its entire stock market. Today, we find out the results, and revisit the very first person to short a stock back in the 17th century.
July 26, 2019
Today on the show, we ignore the advice of some very smart people and bet against something people love.
July 24, 2019
Elizabeth Warren wants to tackle inequality by taxing the wealth of the mega-rich ($50-million-or-more rich). Wealth taxes failed in Europe. Can they work in the U.S.?
July 19, 2019
The Hong Kong protests tap into a complex history between China and the West. It's a story of isolationism, opium wars, and the rise of capitalism.
July 18, 2019
One state, two very different stories: Why Huntington Beach won't build new homes during a housing shortage, and what private firefighters say about their industry and inequality.
July 13, 2019
Recycling in America is on life support. Some towns aren't even picking it up anymore. And it might be a good thing for the planet.
July 10, 2019
In 1987, an Alabama man made a deal with the mob. He ended up with 3,186 tons of trash no landfill would take. It was the accidental birth of recycling in the U.S.
July 5, 2019
The Chinese government is using face recognition, DNA samples and more to track the Uighur population. Americans — some unknowingly — have helped build this surveillance state.
July 3, 2019
Picture an organic farm, with thousands of free-range chickens roaming on open land. Now picture it from the vantage of a soaring bald eagle. It's an all-you-can-eat buffet.
June 28, 2019
Thousands of teachers got grants from the Department of Education to help pay for college. Then, some of those same teachers found out they owed thousands of dollars in debt.
June 27, 2019
It's easy to reverse transactions on credit cards. But Venmo is a different story. A woman who accidentally sent $1,500 to a complete stranger found this out the hard way.
June 21, 2019
What can you do when your car is booted in a private parking lot? Is that even legal? Can Uber drivers cause surge pricing? When do parking tickets become a civil rights issue?
June 19, 2019
Things are looking up in the economy, but there's still plenty to worry about: Corporate debt, the trade war, and worry itself.
June 14, 2019
Moving to the big city used to provide an escalator to a more prosperous life, even if you didn't have a college degree. But now economists are wondering: Are cities overrated?
June 12, 2019
Barely workout? Gyms like it that way. They're one of a few businesses that benefit from low attendance. Economics explains why gyms encourage members to commit, but not too much.
June 7, 2019
In the 1800s, every town had its own "local time," which was not only confusing, but sometimes dangerous. So railroads implemented the standardized time we have today.
June 5, 2019
People in Japan never ate raw salmon. Then Norway had a salmon surplus—and persuaded Japanese sushi eaters to try something new.
May 31, 2019
The unemployment rate in the U.S. is just 3.6%. Many people think we are at, or near, full employment. For the first time in a long while, power is shifting toward workers.
May 29, 2019
Jordan Thomas represents Wall Street whistleblowers in some of the biggest SEC cases against banks. In addition to protecting their secrets, he's also kept some of his own.
May 24, 2019
David Goldstein decides to copy Cambridge Analytica and run an experiment on actual voters during the 2017 Alabama special election.
May 23, 2019
After Donald Trump's companies declared four bankruptcies, several major banks stopped loaning him money. But Deutsche Bank didn't.
May 18, 2019
From renting hotels to a jobs report-like census in the night, we look at ways communities are helping the homeless.
May 15, 2019
The story of Luca Pacioli, who brought double-entry bookkeeping to the masses, transforming accounting and businesses around the world.
May 10, 2019
How James Holzhauer built on the strategies of Ken Jennings, Roger Craig, and Monica Thieu, to crack the game show Jeopardy.
May 8, 2019
What's the cost of being tall? Are people less productive when the weather is bad? Why is vanilla so expensive? Answers to those questions and more.
May 3, 2019
Alice Wu's undergraduate senior thesis on gender bias on the Econ Job Rumors forum sparked a movement to address sexism in the field of economics.
May 1, 2019
For 70 years, the price of a bottle of Coca-Cola stayed a nickel. Why? The answer includes a half a million vending machines and a 7.5 cent coin.
April 27, 2019
Every six hours a new dollar store opens in the U.S. Are they killing grocery stores?
April 24, 2019
The remarkable story of the online "CAPTCHA" tests we've all taken to prove that we're not robots.
April 19, 2019
The Indicator from Planet Money explores trade wars, peanuts, hurricanes, and happiness.
April 17, 2019
We wanted to understand an eerie phenomenon that drives everything from the stock market to the price of orange juice. So we asked you to guess the weight of a cow.
April 12, 2019
How a ruthless dictator, and a bunch of economists known as the Chicago Boys, took Chile from socialism to capitalism.
April 11, 2019
In the late 1950s and early '60s a handful of Chilean students went to study economics at the University of Chicago. What they learned changed their country.
April 6, 2019
Copyrighting comedy is expensive. So comedians have devised an informal system of sanctions to protect their jokes from theft. Sometimes it works.
April 4, 2019
Joe Bankman, professor at Stanford, figured out a way to make filing your taxes easy and painless. Then the tax lobby found out about it.
March 29, 2019
Some colleges are offering students a new way to pay. It's not a scholarship. It's not a loan. It's more like the students are selling stock in themselves.
March 28, 2019
The story behind two sneaky forces that drive us to buy more products, more often: Planned obsolescence and psychological obsolescence.
March 22, 2019
There's an industry of people working to eliminate bad police behavior. They're not activists or protestors. They're insurers.
March 20, 2019
Today's show is about the fickle market for art. What makes a dead shark cost $12 million, and a photo of steel wool that looks like a tornado cost only $1,265?
March 15, 2019
When an American company named ABRO learns their goods are being counterfeited in China, they start their own trade war.
March 13, 2019
The internet was supposed to get rid of middlemen--but instead they are taking over the global economy.
March 8, 2019
Thieves are stealing billions of dollars worth of gasoline in Mexico. The President is taking drastic action to cut them off, and it comes at a serious cost. Content warning: Audio of deadly pipeline explosion.
March 7, 2019
The story of an NBA All-Star and an experiment: To make a desirable basketball shoe cheap enough for anyone.
March 2, 2019
The story of the day the Federal Reserve got its independence and the fight—an actual physical fight—to keep it.
February 28, 2019
Airbnb has changed New Orleans. And now landlords and preservationists are fighting over the future of the city.
February 22, 2019
What does the rise of dominant tech companies say about competition and the state of antitrust law? Third in a series.
Loading earlier episodes...
      0:00:00 / 0:00:00