Planet Money

The economy, explained, with stories and surprises. Imagine you could call up a friend and say, "Meet me at the bar and tell me what's going on with the economy." Now imagine that's actually a fun evening. That's what we're going for at Planet Money. People seem to like it.

Total Episodes248
17 minutes
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Mark Zuckerberg. Bill Gates. Steve Jobs. Most of the big names in technology are men. But a lot of computing pioneers, the ones who programmed the first digital computers, were women. And for decades, the number of women in computer science was growing. But in 1984, something changed. The number of women in computer science flattened, and then plunged. Today on the show, what was going on in 1984 that made so many women give up on computer science? We unravel a modern mystery in the U.S. labor force.
07/29/2015
16 minutes
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The big question surrounding automation isn't just about economics or technology. It's also about psychology. How do designers make us comfortable with something that can be really scary?
10/28/2015
20 minutes
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How do you get someone to sign up as an organ donor? Today on the show: The story of one woman who found a way by partnering with one of the more hated American institutions.
07/27/2016
22 minutes
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Crafting a TV game show is a balancing act. Producers have to carefully calibrate the rules, the drama and the prizes just right. Sometimes they get it way wrong.
10/12/2016
14 minutes
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How we got from mealy, nasty apples to apples that taste delicious. The story starts with a breeder who discovered a miracle apple. But discovering that apple wasn't enough.
01/20/2017
19 minutes
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Ed Thorp started his career teaching math at MIT. Then he slid sideways into blackjack, changed the game forever, and set his sights on Wall Street investing. He changed that forever too.
14 minutes
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There's a term in economics, arbitrage, that basically means free money. It's finding a difference in price, a pricing mistake, you can exploit to make money. Arbitrage is a risk-free way to buy low and sell high. Everyday there are loads of people and sophisticated computer algorithms searching for an arbitrage opportunity, but they're almost impossible to find. Today on the show, we meet two guys who say they've found one, and we visit the storage locker in Utah where they keep their secret.
24 minutes
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We like to think humans are special. What we do can't possibly be automated. But robots are getting more and more sophisticated. There are robot financial advisers, robot radiologists, and pretty soon driverless cars will hit the road. On today's show, we pit people against the machines. Even our jobs, writing radio stories, aren't safe. Image Credit: Quoctrung Bui / NPR
10/07/2015
17 minutes
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The signature. We put it on checks, contracts, credit cards. It's supposed to say, "This is me." But where did the idea come from? And why are we still using it? We consult a rabbi, a lawyer and a credit card executive.