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The Indicator from Planet Money

The Indicator from Planet Money

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.

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npr.org/sections/money/567724614/the-indicator

Episodes

How Do You Get People To Get A Vaccine?

What's the best way to persuade people to get a vaccine? A new study from the University of Pennsylvania may have the answer.
2021-05-13
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The Rise And Fall Of The Skinny Jean

Skinny jeans have reigned supreme for two decades, but now their rule seems to be ending.
2021-05-12
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Pay Taxes Less Frequently? We're Interested...

Taxes can be a nightmare for taxpayers and also for the under-resourced IRS. But there's an idea that could make taxes easier for everybody: only pay taxes once every two years.
2021-05-11
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The Hacking Business

A cyberattack forced the shutdown of a major U.S. fuel pipeline, and the hackers wrote ... a press release? We discuss the business of hacking, and why hackers would give a press statement.
2021-05-10
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Jobs Friday And The Labor Market Mystery

Unemployment is still above 6%, but companies across the US are saying they can't find people to fill their jobs. What's going on?
2021-05-07
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Pepsi's Number Fever

Sometimes companies offer sales promotions that are TOO good, ending in livid customers and a disaster for the company.
2021-05-06
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The VITA(L) Role Of Free Tax Prep

The IRS helps millions of people do their taxes FOR FREE every year. But, as with many things in the past year, covid has made this a little more complicated.
2021-05-06
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Confusion In The Health Insurance Marketplace

Millions of Americans are eligible for huge savings on health insurance due to Biden's stimulus plan, but many haven't taken up the offer. Why is it so hard to give people a break on health insurance?
2021-05-04
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A 21st Century Union

A new union was formed earlier this year. Why has it caught our attention? Some of its members make more than $300,000 a year, and they all work at Alphabet, Google's parent company.
2021-05-03
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Shortages: Inflation In Disguise?

The pandemic spurred a year full of shortages, so why haven't producers responded by raising prices in most cases?
2021-04-30
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Inflation, Unemployment And The Phillips Curve

For decades, policymakers chose to put millions of people into either a frying pan (inflation) or a fire (unemployment). An idea called the Phillips Curve was influential. But is it still?
2021-04-29
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Confused When Online Shopping? It Might Be A Dark Pattern

Dark patterns are online tricks used by retailers and marketers that cause you to do things that you didn't mean to do. And they're becoming more and more common.
2021-04-28
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Back to Business?

We join Stacey for her first haircut of the year, and discuss the future of the service economy as the end of the Covid-19 pandemic (hopefully!) nears.
2021-04-27
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Barbie's Big Makeover

There's been a Barbie boom recently, and it's due in part to new collections of products featuring diverse skin tones and body types, as well as an accompanying PR makeover.
2021-04-27
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The Origin Of The Oscars

It's almost time for The Oscars! We look back at the founding of The Oscars, and how it propelled the American movie industry to the prominence it holds today.
2021-04-24
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The 26 Words That Made The Internet What It Is

How one man's legal fight turned 26 ambiguous words from a 1996 law into the shield big tech companies hide behind to this day.
2021-04-22
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Too Many Real Estate Agents

There are now more realtors than homes for sale, and this is not just concerning for real estate agents facing extra competition. New research suggests too many real estate agents can make downturns worse for the entire housing market.
2021-04-21
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Plastic Is The New Toilet Paper For Scientists

A lot of pandemic-related supply chain snafus have been corrected, but scientists are still struggling to get some of their most basic supplies. What's going on?
2021-04-20
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It's Time To Fly

People are flying again. But so many airplanes are still parked in storage. Getting them in the air again isn't always so simple.
2021-04-19
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A Beige Revolution - Shaking up the Beige Book

It's Beigies season! We honor the Federal Reserve Bank that added two new sections to their Beige Book entry: Worker experience and Minority- and Women- owned Business Enterprises.
2021-04-16
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After The Banks Leave

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the decline of in-person banking. But after a bank branch finally closes down, what happens to the community left behind?
2021-04-15
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What McDonald's Tells Us About The Minimum Wage

When the minimum wage goes up, where does the extra pay for workers come from? Princeton economist Orley Ashenfelter turned to McDonald's to look for some answers.
2021-04-14
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How Burlington Powered Through 2020 Without A Website

Burlington shut down its online store right as the pandemic started, but it still weathered 2020 well. In fact, its stock prices just hit an all time high! What's Burlington's secret to success?
2021-04-13
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How Amazon Defeated The Union

The results are in: Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama will not unionize, for now. We discuss the tactics companies use to keep organized labor at bay.
2021-04-12
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Indicator Favs: How An Econ Experiment Changed Lives

Cardiff picked our final installment of favorites week. We learn about an experiment that led to more low-income students attending an elite college. Sometimes all it takes is the right nudge.
2021-04-09
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Indicator Favs: The Case Of The Pricey Fritos

This favorite episode comes in the form of a mystery. Corn prices were falling, but the price of Fritos in the White House press corps break room went up by 20%. The Indicator was on the case.
2021-04-08
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Indicator Favs: The Rise Of The Machines

In today's classic, the robots take over the show from Cardiff and Stacey as we continue our week of favorite episodes.
2021-04-07
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Indicator Favs: The Recession Predictor

It wouldn't be favorites week at The Indicator without the yield curve. Meet it again for the first time in this classic from the first time Cardiff brought it to the show.
2021-04-06
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Indicator Favs: Let's Get Ready To Retail

This week we're picking our favorite Indicators and adding a little behind the scenes peek. Today, the first time Stacey and Cardiff realized they share a taste for the bizarre in podcasting.
2021-04-05
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Peak Gasoline And Cardiff Fare Thee Well

On this very special episode of Indicators of the Week, we talk about the decline of demand for gasoline and reflect on the past three years of the show with Cardiff.
2021-04-01
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The Virtual Office

The Indicator team has been working remotely for about a year now. While remote work has its perks, sometimes we miss sharing an office space. Can virtual reality help bridge the gap?
2021-04-01
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15 Million N95s Without A Buyer

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic led to an N95 mask shortage. Now there's still a shortage, but many American mask manufacturers can't sell their masks. We break down the reasons why.
2021-03-31
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Schmoozing And The Gender Gap

Women now make up nearly half of entry level work workers, but there's still a gap higher up on the corporate ladder. One possibility for why this is happening? Schmoozing.
2021-03-30
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Boats And Bull Markets: Indicators Of The Week

On Indicators of the week, we discuss the Suez Canal blockage hindering global trade and the stock market recovery since last year's low point. Plus, listeners chime in with their indicators!
2021-03-26
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Stimulus And The Shopper

Stimulus checks have started to hit many Americans' bank accounts. Will this give an extra boost, or maybe even a lifeline, to retailers?
2021-03-26
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Facebook And The News: It's Complicated

Many media outlets think they need to be on Facebook to reach people. So why did New Zealand's biggest news publisher decide to go it alone?
2021-03-24
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Rise of the Robocall

Americans get billions of robocalls every month. They are almost universally despised, so how have they managed to stick around? The answer lies in the economics, of course.
2021-03-23
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Myths And Realities Of America's Rural Economy

Rural communities are sometimes perceived as farmland with a homogenous population, but economist Gbenga Ajilore helps us explain the demographic and economic diversity within Rural America.
2021-03-22
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Indicators of the Week! Interest Rates and Global Poverty

On the show, we look back at the number of people globally who fell into poverty last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and look forward to where U.S. interest rates are projected to stay until 2023.
2021-03-19
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The Giant Pool Of Unmatched Music Royalties

The music industry has boomed thanks to streaming, but with thousands of new songs being added to platforms everyday, sometimes royalties slip through the cracks unpaid. $424 million worth of royalties, to be exact.
2021-03-19
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A Culinary Tour Of Brexit

What has trade with the EU been like for Britons post-Brexit? We answer that question by looking at some of the tastiest indicators around.
2021-03-17
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The Covid Reset: A Chat With Constance Hunter

Is an economic reset on the way? Economist Constance Hunter explains how technology and businesses have changed during Covid, and how these trends offer some hope for long-term recovery.
2021-03-16
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PLEASE sell me a home!

The median price of a single family home in Bozeman, Mont., is now over half a million dollars ? nearly a 20% increase from last year. Why has the housing market gotten so hot so fast?
2021-03-15
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Chips, Cars and the Baby Bust

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused demand shifts and supply chain snafus that have led to many shortages. For Indicators of the Week, we'll be looking at two more: cars and ... babies?
2021-03-12
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One Year Later: Indicators On The Pandemic Economy

What's happened since the Covid-19 pandemic was declared a year ago? On the show, we discuss the differing effects on workers across the economy and the government's larger role in recession recovery.
2021-03-12
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Market Power To The Beeple

Digital art has been largely neglected by the traditional art market, but one artist has made millions selling his work as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). And his work is now being auctioned at Christie's.
2021-03-11
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The $200k NBA NFT

A non-fungible token (NFT) for a LeBron James dunk recently sold for over $200,000 on NBA Top Shot. Anyone can watch the clip online, so why is the NFT worth so much money?
2021-03-10
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Grateful For Taxes

In the modern U.S. people may avoid or begrudgingly pay taxes. But in ancient Athens, wealthy people considered it an honor.
2021-03-08
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Jobs Friday: Better! Still Not Good Tho

It's Jobs Friday! The February jobs report shows signs of recovery, but there's still a long way to go. We talk to three experts about their indicators on how things will change and when.
2021-03-06
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Of Puppies and Profits: The Beigie Awards

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a tough time for everyone, so many people have turned to a familiar source of comfort: pets!
2021-03-05
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