The Indicator from Planet Money

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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.

NPR


    • Oct 25, 2021 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekdays NEW EPISODES
    • 9m AVG DURATION
    • 646 EPISODES

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    Latest episodes from The Indicator from Planet Money

    Squid Game: Debt, decisions, and the paradox of thrift

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 25, 2021 8:54

    In the Netflix show Squid Game, 456 desperate players compete to the death in a series of children's games for millions of dollars. How did their debt impact their decision making?

    Indicators of the Week: IPOs, ETFs, GHGs

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 22, 2021 9:00

    It's Indicators of the Week! The U.S. is using a lot more coal for electricity, the first Bitcoin ETF is finally here, and WeWork officially debuted on the New York Stock Exchange.

    Say my name

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 21, 2021 9:49

    Repeating a customer's name is a classic sales technique used by telemarketers to car salesmen. But can a salesperson use a customer's name too much?

    Keep calm, it's just the bullwhip effect

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2021 9:51

    The Indicator team plays a beer game to understand how the bullwhip effect tangles supply chains. And no, it's not beer pong.

    Labor market trick or treat

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 19, 2021 9:37

    Trick or treat! As we all know, some indicators are sweet, but others are scary. Luckily, one economist is here to help us separate the tricks from the treats in our labor market.

    BRAND new friends

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 18, 2021 8:54

    In advertising, there's always been an unspoken rule — never praise your competition. But one marketing professor's research shows that approach can actually be good for businesses and their brand.

    brand new friends
    Indicators of the Week: strikes, prices, Black Friday deals

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 15, 2021 9:59

    Indicators of the Week! Prices are up again, but is it fair to call this 'transitory' inflation? Black Friday deals are early at stores anticipating supply-chain shortages. And America is on strike.

    Congressional game theory

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 14, 2021 9:08

    For months, lawmakers have been negotiating two big spending bills with no end in sight. Game theory could explain the hidden strategies behind the congressional chaos.

    Simon says we're stuck with the debt ceiling

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 13, 2021 9:09

    The debt ceiling approaches. A congressional standoff ensues. It wasn't always this way. So why did the debt ceiling get built? And how do other countries control their debt?

    A Nobel prize for an economics revolution

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 12, 2021 9:03

    Joshua Angrist, Guido Imbens and David Card won the economics Nobel on Monday. On today's show, we talk to the Princeton professor who mentored two of the winners.

    Jobs Friday: Where are all the older workers?

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 8, 2021 9:45

    Sure, some seniors took the pandemic as an opportunity to ride an RV into the sunset, but there's a darker story unfolding in today's jobs report. Today's show looks at the challenges many older worker can face as they try to reenter the workforce.

    A new decade for Bond

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 7, 2021 9:48

    Daniel Craig's tenure as James Bond is coming to an end with the release of No Time To Die. With Amazon acquiring MGM, where does the 007 franchise go from here?

    Technology brought to you by the s-curve

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 6, 2021 9:41

    A lot of things grow slowly, then fast, then slow again. From the growth in smartphone users to the rise of vaccinations, the s-curve explains a huge part of technological, scientific and economic change.

    Facebook tries to save face

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 6, 2021 8:21

    Facebook's status hasn't been so hot of late. From internal documents leaked by a whistleblower to outages of hours. How does a company with millions of dissatisfied customers turn its image around?

    Revenge of the math club

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 4, 2021 9:40

    In the high school lunchroom version of business school, finance majors were the popular jocks and logistics majors were... the math club. But nowadays, they're sitting at the cool kids' table.

    No Dental, No Power, No Agents: Indicators Of The Week

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 1, 2021 9:53

    Indicators of the Week! Dentists resist the Biden administration's spending plan. China is rationing electricity. And Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson negotiates his own contract, agent-free.

    Japanese Anime, Made In China

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 30, 2021 9:58

    Anime is a twenty-billion-dollar industry and it is growing fast. But traditionally, anime is produced in Japan. What happens when other countries try producing Japanese-style animation?

    Rebuilding Paradise

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 29, 2021 9:31

    The 2018 Camp Fire burned down much of the town of Paradise, Calif. Over the years, wildfires in the West have become more frequent and intense. But Paradise is rebuilding for a more resilient future.

    How WhatsApp Broke Lebanon

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 28, 2021 9:07

    Lebanon's economy is in freefall. The World Bank calls it one of the worst financial crises in a century. We look back at Lebanon's optimistic years, zooming in on the one key decision that started this house of cards. And we ask what this can teach us about booms and busts in general.

    The College Admissions 'Melt' Down

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 27, 2021 8:58

    What is "melt" and why are college admissions departments sweating over it this year?

    Indicators Of The Week: Evergrande, Stuck Ships, Town Managers

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 24, 2021 9:45

    From ghost apartments empty in China, to a backlog of ships in Los Angeles, to towns struggling to find city managers... yes, it's time for Indicators of the Week!

    Why An Aging China Matters

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 23, 2021 9:42

    For decades China exported better and cheaper stuff. But now China's experiencing a factory worker crunch. It's been a long time coming.

    The Unicorn Next Door

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2021 9:39

    A real estate startup says it's the fastest company in American history to achieve a billion-dollar valuation, but the neighbors aren't buying what they're selling: fractional home ownership.

    Trust Us, 2020 Brought Us Together

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 21, 2021 9:32

    Political upheaval! Conspiracy theories! Global spread of disease! Sounds like a recipe for... trust? Today on the show, how 2020 increased trust, and how that trust underpins so much of our economy.

    All In On Malls

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 20, 2021 9:39

    With the pandemic shutting down in-person life, thousands of retail stores closed up shop. But, some retailers see an opportunity for growth by moving into American malls. Let's go to the mall.

    Indicators Of The Week: Colleges, Poverty, Airlines

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 17, 2021 9:28

    It's that time of the week again! On today's show, we bring the indicators on airline vaccine mandates, U.S. poverty after all that pandemic aid and a surprising shakeup in college rankings.

    Gas Power To Electric Power To... Foot Power?

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 16, 2021 9:58

    Auto companies needing to lower emissions while facing car bans in some cities, are turning their focus toward a familiar, two-wheeled competitor. Today on the show, the rise of the e-bike.

    Child Care Conundrum

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 15, 2021 9:34

    Millions of mothers left work during the pandemic. Decades of progress seemed lost. Is it time to reconsider how our economy handles child care and the workplace?

    Do High Food Prices Mean Unrest?

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 14, 2021 8:07

    Climate change, farmworker shortages and increasing transportation costs are driving global food prices higher and higher. What happens when food costs too much?

    The Beigie Awards: From Coasting To Ghosting

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 13, 2021 9:37

    Restaurant owners washing their own dishes? Shipping containers changing all prices mid-delivery? The rise of the spooky, surf-happy employee? It's the Beigie Awards!

    Indicators Of The Week: From Bitcoin To Solar To Feelings

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 10, 2021 9:13

    It's time for Indicators Of The Week! This week: The confidence of consumers takes a hit, El Salvador makes it official with Bitcoin, and our future's so bright, we might just need those shades.

    Do You Want To Live In A Bounty Economy?

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 9, 2021 9:23

    The Texas abortion law includes an unusual provision: a financial incentive to report others. On today's show, we look into another time in U.S. history where the government tried bounties.

    A Quest To Support Women-Led Businesses

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 8, 2021 9:35

    A reporter frustrated by the gender and race gap in company CEOs sets out to buy products only from companies led or owned by women. Today on the show, what it takes to advance women in business.

    A Quest To Support Women-Led Businesses

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 8, 2021 9:35

    A reporter frustrated by the gender and race gap in company CEOs sets out to buy products only from companies led or owned by women. Today on the show, what it takes to advance women in business.

    Did Ending Pandemic UI Benefits Push Americans Back To Work?

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 7, 2021 9:11

    Early this summer, the U.S. inadvertently launched one of the largest unemployment experiments in history to see if unemployment benefits impact worker shortages. Today on the show, we find the answer.

    When A Drought Boils Over

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 3, 2021 9:57

    As our week on water ends, we go to the heart of the conflict. On today's show, the ranchers on the frontlines of the Western drought are caught between a political battle and the climate crisis.

    Should The Lawns In Vegas, Stay In Vegas?

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 2, 2021 9:07

    An epic drought and population explosion is draining Lake Mead and the Colorado River, which millions rely on. And then there's the lawns. Today on the show, what happens if the water runs dry?

    Water's Cheap... Should It Be?

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 1, 2021 9:36

    As we grapple with the climate crisis, there's less and less water to go around. But in the U.S. water is cheaper than dirt. Today on the show, the reason we're willing to flush something so valuable down the drain.

    Liquid Markets

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 31, 2021 9:56

    Economists often say we should put prices on scarce resources. So that's what Australia did with water. On today's show, how that turned out.

    Water In The West: Bankrupt?

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 30, 2021 9:59

    Water is one of the West's most precious resources, but it's drying up. We begin a week of the economics of water. Today: Who has the rights? When there isn't enough, could the answer be bankruptcy?

    Jeromonomics: Indicator Of The Week

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 27, 2021 9:30

    Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has radically changed the Fed's approach to supporting the economy. Today for our Indicator Of The Week we explain "Jeromonomics".

    The Taliban Controls The Afghan Economy. Now What?

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 26, 2021 9:00

    As the Taliban assumes control of Afghanistan, uncertainty looms over an already-fragile financial system. Today on the show, we look into Afghani currency and the Afghan central bank, how it worked before and the questions of this precarious present moment.

    China's Big Tech Crackdown

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 25, 2021 9:36

    When a Chinese tech CEO shared a poem over a thousand years old, his company's stock plummeted. Investors are on a knife's edge as the Chinese government cracks down on big tech.

    Enough With Bachelor's Degrees

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 24, 2021 9:08

    There are millions of job openings, but there are also many jobs that shut out qualified candidates simply because they don't have a bachelor's degree. Today on the show, we explore this phenomenon.

    How To Trade-up From A Bobby Pin To A House

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 23, 2021 9:18

    TikTok deal-maker Demi Skipper is on a quest to get a house one trade at a time. Starting with just a bobby pin, Demi gives us a crash course on the economics of bartering.

    Jabs And Retail: Indicators Of The Week

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 20, 2021 8:46

    It's that time of the week again! Today on the show, our Indicators of The Week about the insufficient number of global vaccinations and a dip in retail spending.

    The Electric Grid-Lock

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 19, 2021 9:06

    So many players in the U.S. electrical game, but maybe less is more? A look into energy grids, how monopolies could topple, blackouts stop, and the climate impact of it all. On today's show, who controls the power?

    Who Owns The Moon?

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 18, 2021 9:59

    Location, location, location! As private companies race to control space travel, a conversation around spatial real estate gets reignited. Today on the show, can you buy the moon? If so, how much?

    The Spit Queen, The Economist And The NBA

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 17, 2021 9:41

    Yale's Anne Wyllie pioneered saliva coronavirus testing, but wasted a lot of precious time worrying about funding. Until she met her fairy godmother, an economist funding covid-fighting ideas fast.

    Holy Cow, It's Fake Meat!

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 16, 2021 9:51

    In recent years, meat alternatives have grown in popularity. But they remain more expensive than the real thing. Why?

    Indicator Of The Week: 4.5 Trillion

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 13, 2021 9:24

    The recent updates on the Biden Administration's infrastructure bills raise a serious question: what counts as infrastructure? Today on the show, we speak with two economists on the topic.

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