Planet Money

300 EpisodesProduced by NPR

The economy explained. 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.

episodes iconAll Episodes

#919: Are Cities Overrated?

June 14th, 2019


Big cities used to be the land of opportunity for most people. But with changes in work, some economists are wondering: Are cities overrated?

#590: The Planet Money Workout

June 12th, 2019


Gyms don't want you to workout. Or at least, not often. It's better for business that way. Economics explains why.

#918: The Day Of Two Noons

June 7th, 2019


People didn't always know what time it was. But in the nineteenth century, a high school principal, a scientist, and a railroad bureaucrat …

#651: The Salmon Taboo

June 5th, 2019


In Japan, salmon used to be garbage fish. Today, it's a delicacy. How one Norwegian with a lot of extra fish changed the tastes of a nation.

#917: Quit Threat!

May 31st, 2019


Sometimes an economy can get so strong the power dynamic between bosses and workers flips: Full employment. Are we there yet?

#916: The Whistleblower Whisperer

May 29th, 2019


Jordan Thomas is a lawyer who represents some of Wall Street's biggest whistleblowers. The life that led him here is extraordinary.

#915: How To Meddle In An Election

May 24th, 2019


In which someone runs a science experiment on an actual election, on actual voters, to test the persuasive power of ethically sketchy methods.

#914: Trump and Deutsche, A Long Affair

May 23rd, 2019


After Donald Trump's companies declared four bankruptcies, several major banks stopped loaning him money. But Deutsche Bank didn't.

#913: Counting The Homeless

May 18th, 2019


From renting hotels to a jobs report-like census in the night, we look at ways communities are helping the homeless.

#407: A Mathematician, The Last Supper, And The Birth Of Accounting

May 15th, 2019


The story of an innovation that changed the way the world works, and of the man who made this innovation possible: Luca Pacioli.

#912: How Uncle Jamie Broke Jeopardy

May 10th, 2019


James Holzhauer took data, probability and a lot of practice with a fake buzzer, and turned it into a fortune on a game show.

#911: You Asked The Listener Question Hotline

May 8th, 2019


We answer a bunch of the questions you asked — and even one you *didn't* ask.

#910: Economics, Sexism, Data

May 3rd, 2019


A young economist holds a mirror up to her field. And starts a national conversation about women in economics.

#416: Why The Price of Coke Didn't Change For 70 years

May 1st, 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.

#909: Dollar Stores Vs Lettuce

April 27th, 2019


Every six hours a new dollar store opens in the U.S. Are they killing grocery stores?

#908: I Am Not A Robot

April 24th, 2019


The remarkable story of the online "CAPTCHA" tests we've all taken to prove that we're not robots.

#907: Two Spring Indicators

April 19th, 2019


The Indicator from Planet Money explores trade wars, peanuts, hurricanes, and happiness.

#644: How Much Does This Cow Weigh?

April 17th, 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.

#906: The Chicago Boys, Part II

April 12th, 2019


How a ruthless dictator, and a bunch of economists known as the Chicago Boys, took Chile from socialism to capitalism.

#905: The Chicago Boys, Part I

April 11th, 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 …

#904: Joke Theft

April 6th, 2019


Copyrighting comedy is expensive. So comedians have devised an informal system of sanctions to protect their jokes from theft. Sometimes it works.

#760: Tax Hero

April 4th, 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.

#903: A New Way To Pay For College

March 29th, 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 …

#902: The Phoebus Cartel

March 28th, 2019


The story behind two sneaky forces that drive us to buy more products, more often: Planned obsolescence and psychological obsolescence.

#901: Bad Cops Are Expensive

March 22nd, 2019


There's an industry of people working to eliminate bad police behavior. They're not activists or protestors. They're insurers.

#189: Why A Dead Shark Costs $12 Million

March 20th, 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 …

#900: The Stolen Company

March 15th, 2019


When an American company named ABRO learns their goods are being counterfeited in China, they start their own trade war.

#724: Cat Scam

March 13th, 2019


The internet was supposed to get rid of middlemen--but instead they are taking over the global economy.

#899: Mexico Fights The Fuel Pirates

March 8th, 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 …

#785: The Starbury

March 7th, 2019


The story of an NBA All-Star and an experiment: To make a desirable basketball shoe cheap enough for anyone.

#898: Happy Fed Independence Day

March 2nd, 2019


The story of the day the Federal Reserve got its independence and the fight—an actual physical fight—to keep it.

#897: New Orleans Vs. Airbnb

February 28th, 2019


Airbnb has changed New Orleans. And now landlords and preservationists are fighting over the future of the city.

Antitrust 3: Big Tech

February 22nd, 2019


What does the rise of dominant tech companies say about competition and the state of antitrust law? Third in a series.

Antitrust 2: The Paradox

February 20th, 2019


How Robert Bork won the fight over the very meaning of competition in America, and paved the way for some of the biggest companies we've ever seen.

Antitrust 1: Standard Oil

February 15th, 2019


At the turn of the 20th century, Ida Tarbell investigated John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil. What she discovered changed the economy of the United States.

#418: A Fake Bank For Money Laundering Run By The Government

February 14th, 2019


To catch drug traffickers, the U.S. government tried something it had never tried before. It set up and ran a fake offshore bank for money laundering. Fake name. Fake employees. Real drug money.

#893: Our Valentines 2019

February 8th, 2019


We give a shout out to the stuff we've been obsessing over in the office — those stories that were so good, we wished we had thought of them ourselves.

#892: The Lost Plane

February 7th, 2019


In December, a commercial flight had to make an emergency landing in Iran. They discovered that landing there would be easy. Getting out – much, much …

#891: Who Won The Bet Over Bitcoin?

February 1st, 2019


Five years ago, two sides met on our show to make a bet about the future of bitcoin. Today, we announce the winner.

#825: Who Started The Wildfire?

January 30th, 2019


After a wildfire, teams of investigators start combing the wreckage for clues. Finding the cause means, maybe, finding someone to pay. But where's the line between a natural disaster and a human one?

#890: The Division Problem

January 25th, 2019


Today on the show, we take on one of life's most vexing problems: Sharing.

#688: Brilliant Vs. Boring

January 23rd, 2019


John Bogle died last week. His creation — the index fund — changed investing. Today, how his invention set off a million dollar bet between some of …

#889: The Pay-What-You-Want Experiment

January 18th, 2019


In 2010, Panera launched several pay-what-you-want cafes. On today's show: How this charitable experiment worked out.

#888: The First Shutdown

January 17th, 2019


In 1879, Congress and the President were locked in a battle over the rights of African-Americans. It led to the first government shutdown.

#887: You Asked For It, Yet Again

January 12th, 2019


On today's show we answer questions about silver dollars, Venmo, and Brexit. Why? Because you asked!

#690: All In

January 9th, 2019


We go inside a professional poker tournament, where some of the smartest betting takes place behind the scenes.

#886: The Price of a Hack

January 4th, 2019


Hackers are an expensive headache for companies. But there might be a simple economic fix.

#885: Do It For Your Country

January 2nd, 2019


People are the engine that fuels an economy. But what happens when you start running out of people?

#884: The Rest Of The Story, Winter 2018

December 28th, 2018


We check in on some stories we did this year to see what's changed. Find a full list of the episodes we referenced at our website,

#609: The Curse Of The Black Lotus

December 26th, 2018


How the card game "Magic: The Gathering" deflated a speculative bubble. You can support our show at

BONUS INDICATOR: The Calculator That Time Forgot

December 24th, 2018


Most products in this world are vulnerable to creative destruction: as new products are developed, they make old ones obsolete. But there are some …

#883: A Very Planet Money Christmas Carol

December 21st, 2018


Charles Dickens wanted to pick a fight with economists. So he invented Ebenezer Scrooge. But did he get it all right? Also: If you want to support our show, head over to We appreciate it.

#882: Synthetic Reefer Madness

December 20th, 2018


How a professor invented a formula for synthesizing cannabinoids and unintentionally helped launch a drug revolution.

BONUS INDICATOR: The Measure Of A Tragedy

December 17th, 2018


Ricardo Hausmann, a Harvard-based Venezuelan economist, has constructed his own indicator, one that captures the horrifying scale of the economic catastrophe in Venezuela. (This episode is from our other podcast, The …

#881: The Prisoners of the Trade War

December 15th, 2018


A truce in the U.S.-China trade war seemed close. The leaders of China and the United States were meeting to discuss a fix. And then arrests started. It got even more confusing, so today, we call up our man on the …

#539: What's A Penny Worth?

December 13th, 2018


We try to figure out what makes cents.

#880: Is Amazon Good For New York?

December 7th, 2018


It feels like all of New York City is arguing about Amazon's new office in Queens. But what do the people in Long Island City think?

#533: Why Car Safety Is A Trade Barrier

December 6th, 2018


The U.S. and Europe just can't agree on car safety standards. That puts car companies in a weird position, makes cars cost more and just seems kind …

#879: The Secret Target

December 1st, 2018


Their plan was dangerous, risky, and extremely unpopular. But America copied them anyway. Today on the show: how a tiny country on the other side of …

#468: Kid Rock Vs. The Scalpers

November 28th, 2018


We talk to Kid Rock about how he tried to cut scalpers out of the business — and still sell cheap tickets to his shows.

VIDEO: The Price Of Coke Stayed The Same For 70 Years — Why?

November 26th, 2018


For 70 years, a Coca-Cola cost a nickel. The price didn't change. How is that even possible? You can also watch the video here:

#878: Mugshots For Sale

November 23rd, 2018


We go deep inside the market for online mugshots. Is it extortion? Or is it a First Amendment right?

#877: The Laws of The Office

November 21st, 2018


You get what you measure. Work expands to fill the time allotted. Who comes up with this stuff? And is it true?

VIDEO: Put A Chip On It

November 19th, 2018


A quick history of slow credit cards. This video also available here:

#699: Kansas City Vs. Kansas City

November 17th, 2018


A bunch of you asked why so many cities threw billions in tax breaks at Amazon. It reminded us of an episode we did in 2016.

#876: Patent Deception

November 15th, 2018


How World Patent Marketing stole nearly $26 million. And how the acting attorney general was involved.

VIDEO: A Grave Promise

November 12th, 2018


If you die in America, chances are the cemetery is going to promise to maintain your grave forever. Americans take this for granted, but it's a …

#875: Why Did The Cow Cross The Border?

November 10th, 2018


To take advantage of the surprising benefits provided by an interlocked economic system on the other side.

#874: Hot Dog Hail Mary

November 7th, 2018


The Falcons are trying something radical: Making their food cheaper. It could break stadium economics.

VIDEO: Inventing Price Tags

November 5th, 2018


For most of human history, you had to haggle over prices before you could buy something. Then came the idea of the price tag.

#873: The Seattle Experiment

November 2nd, 2018


Seattle's radical solution to big money in politics: Flood elections with even more money.

#872: The Halloween Tapes

October 31st, 2018


Something spooky has been happening here at Planet Money.

Video: The Miracle Apple

October 30th, 2018


We're kicking off a quick season of our bonus video series, Planet Money Shorts. Watch how apples became brands, and started being more than delicious.

#871: Blacklisted In China

October 26th, 2018


China is trying a bold experiment to help people trust each other more: The social credit score. Will it work? Does it go too far?

#676: The First Lottery & How To Beat The Odds

October 23rd, 2018


The first lottery was a royal affair with poems, golden flatware and invited criminals. Also, how someone won the lottery over and over.

#870: Trump vs. Red Tape

October 19th, 2018


President Trump promised to slash regulations. How has he done?

#453: What Causes What?

October 17th, 2018


We try to tell the difference between correlation and causation.

#869: The Student Loan Whistleblower

October 12th, 2018


Seth Frotman worked overseeing student loans for the government. He saw things that made him quit, and tell all.

#534: The History of Light (Nobel Edition)

October 8th, 2018


Bill Nordhaus just won the economics Nobel. In this show: He shows how history of light is the history of economic growth — of things getting faster, cheaper, and more efficient.

#868: Moneyland

October 5th, 2018


We follow writer Oliver Bullough as he explores how stolen money moves around the world, and what that might mean for democracies.

#680: Anatomy Of A Scam

October 3rd, 2018


Ever seen one of those signs asking if you want to work from home? We find out what happens when you call.

#867: Special Report: Asylum Crackdown

September 29th, 2018


We tell the story of a massive crackdown on asylum fraud, and the fallout.

#866: Modern Monetary Theory

September 27th, 2018


We rethink everything we know about government spending, taxes, the nature of money... All of it.

#865: Tweak This

September 21st, 2018


We propose small fixes for baseball, weddings, salary negotiations and buying your morning coffee. Warning: They may be too rational.

#657: The Tale Of The Onion King

September 19th, 2018


How one man took the onion market hostage.

#864: The Central (Bankers') Question

September 15th, 2018


We crash a party of central bankers to get an answer to one of the biggest economic questions of our time.

For Our 10th Anniversary, Episode #1

September 12th, 2018


In honor of our 10th anniversary, we revisit our very first episode.

#863: The 13th Hole

September 8th, 2018


What a hole-in-one gone awry says about the state of charity.

#729: When Subaru Came Out

September 5th, 2018


Subaru's sales had been slumping for years. Then they went straight to their biggest fans: Lesbians.

#862: Big Government Cheese

August 31st, 2018


That time we accidentally created a cheese surplus so large it had to be stored in a ginormous cave.

#783: New Jersey Bails Out

August 29th, 2018


California just did away with cash bail. But credit where credit is due. New Jersey already tried something similar.

#861: Food Scare Squad

August 24th, 2018


When food makes people sick all around the country, an army of germ detectives jumps into action.

#444: New Jersey Wine

August 22nd, 2018


Today on the show: Could New Jersey become the next Napa?

#860: The World's Longest Yard Sale

August 17th, 2018


Six states. Three days. One ugly cookie jar. Today on the show: Yard sale!

#613: Trash!

August 15th, 2018


The line between trash and recycling is moving a lot these days. It's a tough time to be a recycler.

#859: You Asked For Even More

August 10th, 2018


You have a lot of questions... about tariffs, unemployment rates, and RV dealerships, to name a few. We have answers.

#704: Open Office

August 8th, 2018


This episode is for everyone who ever had to ask their coworkers to quiet down. Today on the show: We meet the man who stole your office door.

#858: Venezuela's Fugitive Money Traders

August 3rd, 2018


The Venezuelan government doesn't want you to know the real value of its currency. But Ruben and Mila figured it out. Now they're on the lam.

#857: The Postal Illuminati

August 1st, 2018


Is there a secretive postal organization fixing international shipping rates, and giving American businesses a bad deal?

#856: Yes In My Backyard

July 27th, 2018


There's a simple way to solve the housing crisis in U.S. cities. Only problem is, almost everybody hates it.

#855: The Poop Cartel

July 25th, 2018


What happens when a group of economists applies the number one rule of economics... to number two?

#854: The New Socialists

July 20th, 2018


Socialism was political poison in the U.S. for decades. Now it's gaining ground. Who are these new socialists? And what do they want?

#472: The One-Page Plan To Fix Global Warming Revisited

July 18th, 2018


Tax carbon emissions. That's basically the whole plan. What's the hold up?

#853: Peak Sand

July 13th, 2018


Sand. It's in buildings, windows, your cell phone. But there isn't enough in the world for everyone. And that's created a dangerous black market.

#427: LeBron James Is Still Underpaid

July 11th, 2018


The best player in basketball is getting hosed. The NBA team owners, the players, the fans and even LeBron James himself want to keep it that way.

#852: Two Summer Indicators

July 6th, 2018


Two stories from our Indicator team. There's a province in China that makes many of the world's flags. It's a unique window on global trade right now. And we find out why so few teenagers are working summer jobs these …

#700: Peanuts And Cracker Jack

July 3rd, 2018


It takes strategy and skill to sell snacks at a baseball game. Meet the hot dog vending legend of Fenway Park.

#851: The Rest Of The Story Summer 2018

June 30th, 2018


A pesticide wreaks havoc. A listener needs a bitcoin detective. And the search for the rarest economic good continues.

#850: The Fake Review Hunter

June 27th, 2018


Fake product reviews are wrecking the internet. But help is on the way: From a bodybuilding fake review hunter.

VIDEO: The Chicken Tax

June 25th, 2018


Which came first, the frozen chicken or the tax on foreign trucks? Just kidding, it was the frozen chicken — then came the American tax that helped shape the domestic market for trucks.

#682: When CEO Pay Exploded

June 22nd, 2018


Politicians have argued for decades that CEOs are overpaid. But there's this precise moment in the 1990s when CEO pay suddenly shot up. We find out …

#849: It Takes Two To Make A Trade War Fight

June 20th, 2018


President Trump says China is stealing U.S. technology. So we looked into one case. And things got a little complicated.

#848: The World's Biggest Battery

June 15th, 2018


California has a ton of solar power. But as soon as night falls, it's gone. Today on the show: How to bottle the sun.

#847: Inventing Accidents

June 13th, 2018


The medical world has been trying to cure color blindness for centuries. Then a glass scientist figured it out. By accident.

#846: Ungerrymandering Florida

June 9th, 2018


When Florida outlawed partisan gerrymandering, politicians tried to sneak it back disguise.

#660: The T-Rex In My Backyard

June 6th, 2018


Meet Sue, the dinosaur who sparked a gold rush for fossils buried in the badlands of North Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.

#845: REDMAP

June 2nd, 2018


Meet the man who figured out how to reshape national politics by making tiny investments in the smallest of places.

#844: Nice Game

May 31st, 2018


In game theory, sometimes the best way to win, is to lose.

#843: Swamp Gravy

May 25th, 2018


Today on the show: A small town stakes its future on writing, directing, and starring in a musical.

#643: The Taxi King

May 23rd, 2018


Gene Freidman built a taxi empire. We visited him before he was in legal trouble.

#842: Showdown at the WTO

May 18th, 2018


The World Trade Organization: Can't live with it, hard to crush your trade opponents without it.

#696: Class Action

May 16th, 2018


Class actions run from big civil rights cases to arguments about pepper. Are they noble, or silly?

#841: The Land Of Duty Free

May 11th, 2018


We meet the man who invented duty free shopping and find out if these tax free stores are really saving us any money.

#840: Fixing Chicken

May 9th, 2018


Today on the show: A chicken index, some Wall Street investors, and an unlikely whistle-blower.

#839: The Indicator Goes To California

May 4th, 2018


California is way more than Hollywood. Today on the show, we look at what else is going on in this powerhouse state economy.

#575: The Fondue Conspiracy

May 2nd, 2018


Today on the show: How a cheese cartel abandoned the rules of economics and convinced the world to eat fondue.

#838: A Series of Mysterious Packages

April 27th, 2018


Unordered trinkets have been arriving at homes around the country. We try to find out why.

#640: The Bottom Of The Well

April 25th, 2018


Today on the show: the economics of drought, and why the rational thing to do in California right now is use more water.

#837: The Belt, The Road And The Money

April 21st, 2018


Today on the show, we connect the dots between New York, Uganda, Prague, and China's thirst for resources. (Music Credit: Thanks to musician Giovanni Kiyingi for the use of his song "Kaleeba" from the album Amakondeere.)

#836: The Rational Madness Of The Used Car Salesman

April 19th, 2018


Why are used car commercials so annoying? Meet the original sinner.

#835: Tariffied

April 13th, 2018


We're in a full-fledged trade war with China. We dig into the list of tariffs on American products. It gets weird...and delicious.

#661: The Less Deadly Catch

April 11th, 2018


Today on the show: how an economic fix helped made the deadliest job in America safer, and why people are angry about it.

#834: NDA Tell-All

April 7th, 2018


Today on the show, we talk to one of the most famous NDA breakers of all time, and ask: Is there a legal way out of your NDA?

#685: Larry vs. The IRS

April 4th, 2018


What exactly would happen if you didn't pay your taxes? Today on the show, we follow one man who did just that.

#833: Worst. Tariffs. Ever.

March 30th, 2018


Tariffs are stupid. This is one of the few things economists can agree on. Today, we bring you the story of the worst tariffs ever.

#832: Mulvaney Vs The CFPB

March 28th, 2018


What happens when you put someone who wants to close an agency, in charge of that agency? Today on the show, we find out.

#671: An Insider Trader Tells All

March 23rd, 2018


A man who got caught insider trading explains everything — what he did, how he did it, and why.

#831: The Golden Rules

March 21st, 2018


Planet Money joins the gold rush 170 years late. And the rules are still about the same. How did that happen?

#454: The Lollipop War

March 16th, 2018


What do sugar farmers have against candy? A lot, according to candy manufacturers.


March 14th, 2018


How did the social security number become the most important identifier in the United States? And is that even a good idea?

#829: Rigging The Economy

March 9th, 2018


Two guys from different ends of the political spectrum agree that the economy is rigged. And they think they know who's responsible.

#677: The Experiment Experiment

March 7th, 2018


There's something wrong with the way we're doing science. Today on the show, we find out how to fix it.

#828: You Asked For More

March 2nd, 2018


We ponder the price of chicken, safe haven currencies, and the cash value of coupons. Why? Because you asked.

#827: Three Indicators

February 28th, 2018


What do human blood, the conservative tax plan, and beer hops tell us about the world? Find out in today's episode.

#826: The Vodka Proof

February 23rd, 2018


Vodka is the best selling spirit in the United States, and there are zillions of brands. But is there any difference between them?

#545: The Blue Pallet

February 21st, 2018


How do you reinvent something as simple as the wooden shipping pallet?

#825: Who Started The Wildfire

February 16th, 2018


After a wildfire, teams of investigators start combing the wreckage for clues. Finding the cause means, maybe, finding someone to pay. But where's the line between a natural disaster and a human one?

#824: Our Valentines

February 14th, 2018


If you can't beat 'em, send 'em a valentine.

#823: Planet Monet

February 9th, 2018


Investors are pouring money into art, and a lot of it is disappearing into storage. We try to find out where the art goes, and why it goes there.

#337: The Secret Document that Transformed China

February 7th, 2018


In 1978, a group of farmers in a Chinese village wrote a contract and hid it in the roof of a hut. They were afraid the document might get them executed. Instead, it transformed the Chinese economy.

#822: The Shortest Super Bowl

February 2nd, 2018


How does the market for Super Bowl tickets work? And why did it collapse in 2015?

#821: The Other Davos

February 1st, 2018


Billionaires, diplomats, thinkfluencers. This is the Davos everyone hears about. Today on the show, we take you to a different Davos.

#820: P Is For Phosphorus

January 26th, 2018


Phosphate is a crucial element, for farming, and for life. And there aren't too many places to get it. What if it runs out?

#819: Tax Me If You Can

January 25th, 2018


Douglas Bruce had a bold vision for Colorado.

#508: A Bet On The Future Of Humanity

January 19th, 2018


A biologist predicts a population bomb that will lead to global catastrophe. An economist sees a limitless future for mankind. The result is one of …

#818: The Problem Of The Root

January 18th, 2018


The wild ginseng market has gone crazy. We go to a farm hidden in the Appalachian mountains to find out why.

#817: The Gun Man

January 13th, 2018


Will 3-D printing make gun control impossible?

#489: The Invisible Plumbing Of Our Economy

January 10th, 2018


Why does it take days to send money electronically?

#816: Bitcoin Losers

January 5th, 2018


The Bitcoin market has gone crazy. And it's revealing something strange. A lot of people can't find their Bitcoins. We go looking for lost billions.

#273: When The U.S. Paid Off The Entire National Debt

January 3rd, 2018


What does a country with no debt look like? To find out, we went back to the United States in 1835.

#815: The Rest of the Story 2017

December 29th, 2017


Every year at Planet Money, we take a cue from radio legend Paul Harvey and bring you "The Rest of the Story." It's a show where we check in on some …

#544: The M&M Anomaly

December 27th, 2017


David Kestenbaum noticed that a pack of Milk Chocolate M&M's weighs 1.69 ounces, but a pack of Peanut Butter M&M's weighs 1.63 ounces. He had …

BONUS INDICATOR: How Airfare Is Changing

December 25th, 2017


Why flying to small airports keeps costing more and more, just as flying to big airports is getting cheaper. (This episode is from our new podcast, The Indicator. Subscribe to it wherever you get your podcasts.)

#814: The Tax Plan Is Huge

December 22nd, 2017


Congress just passed the largest tax overhaul in decades. We dig in.

#670: The Santa Suit

December 20th, 2017


Today on the show: A lawsuit over a Santa suit is a window into countless hidden fights that shape the stuff we buy. It's one man's battle against the U.S. government — and, in a way, against himself.

BONUS INDICATOR: Forget Neutrality

December 18th, 2017


From our new podcast, The Indicator: Opponents of net neutrality argue that the government should get out of the way and let the market work, that's …

#813: The Produce Show

December 16th, 2017


Five reporters go to the New York Produce Show and Conference, each on a mission.

#812: High Rise, Low Returns

December 13th, 2017


As a businessman, President Trump is known for his towering buildings. Today we tell the story of one of those skyscrapers and what it says about how and with whom Trump does business.

BONUS: The Indicator, From Planet Money

December 11th, 2017


We've made a new show. You can subscribe to it now. It's called 'The Indicator'. It's for those times you want Planet Money to explain the news, quickly. It's short (about five minutes) and three days a week.

SPACE 4: 3 2 1

December 9th, 2017


We've got a satellite. We got a rocket. We're heading to the launch pad.

SPACE 3: Rocket Shopping

December 7th, 2017


We found a satellite. We tried to figure out what it would do. Now we need to choose our rocket.

SPACE 2: Wait, Why Are We Going To Space?

December 1st, 2017


We hitched a ride on a satellite. Now we have to figure out what we're going to do up there.

#807: Anatomy of a Hustle

November 24th, 2017


What did Paul Manafort do, exactly? Robert Mueller's indictment is 31 pages of hard-to-understand financial crime. We try to figure it out.

#665: The Free Food Market

November 22nd, 2017


A while back, the charity Feeding America was a mess. It was sending pickles to food banks that wanted produce, and potatoes to Idaho. So they called some economists, and a free food market was born.

#806: Walmart's Pickle

November 17th, 2017


Walmart and Amazon are in a battle to be the store where you buy everything. But when both companies sell everything, what sets them apart? Food inventions like a bright, red pickle!

#805: War And Peace And Cows

November 15th, 2017


In South Sudan, there is a kind of money that works even through bank failures and unstable governments. But when war struck, it upended a whole …

#672: Bagging the Birkin

November 10th, 2017


Once you've got a Birkin bag, you've made it. But to get one, you need more than just money. Birkins always seem to be mysteriously out of stock. This is no accident.

#804: Your Cell Phone's A Snitch

November 8th, 2017


Timothy Carpenter stole cell phones. Then his phone sold him out to the Feds. Now the Supreme Court has to decide how private our cell phone data …

#369: If Teens Ran the Fed

November 3rd, 2017


Once a year, teenagers from across the country team up and compete to run the U.S. Federal Reserve.

#803: Nudge, Nudge, Nobel

November 1st, 2017


Why do smart people make dumb decisions? Figuring that out won Richard Thaler a Nobel Prize.

#802: The Hotel at the Center of the World

October 28th, 2017


A Chinese company pays millions of dollars for a failing hotel in a small, rural town. We follow the trail of money, and it explains the world …

#579: Is the NCAA An Illegal Cartel?

October 25th, 2017


In any other industry, it's illegal for a group of companies to get together and cap wages. What makes the NCAA different?

#801: The Death Show

October 20th, 2017


Today on the show: death. We have four stories about how people prepare for death and what they leave behind for the living.

#581: Free Money

October 18th, 2017


Bob Peterson claims to have found the thing people have sought for thousands of years — an investment guaranteed to double in value. He keeps it in a storage locker in Utah. It's protected by a single padlock.

#800: North Korea's Capitalists

October 14th, 2017


Capitalism isn't supposed to exist in North Korea. But all over the country, small businesses are popping up, growing the nation's economy. And much of that money is going straight to the country's nuclear program.

#799: Corporate! Income! Tax!

October 11th, 2017


Republicans are proposing big changes to the corporate income tax. Trillions of dollars are at stake. Here's what it all means.

#798: Bad Credit Bureau

October 7th, 2017


For most of our lives, Equifax has been slurping up our financial data. Now the company's been hacked and our data is loose. Today, we trace this …

#648: The Benefits of Bankruptcy

October 4th, 2017


It might just be the secret weapon of the U.S. economy.

#797: Flood Money

September 29th, 2017


Bill Pennington's house floods a lot: Three times in the last three years. And every time his house floods, the government pays to help him repair the damage. Is something wrong here?

#524: Mr Jones' Act

September 27th, 2017


The government suspended the Jones Act last week, to allow non-US ships to move fuel to victims of hurricanes in Houston and Florida. Which once again made us wonder why the act even exists.

#796: The Basic Income Experiment

September 22nd, 2017


The basic income. A flat payment to citizens, without strings. Is it a progressive fever dream, or sensible policy? We may soon find out. The Finnish …

#795: Is Record Breaking Broken?

September 20th, 2017


The Guinness Book of World Records had a problem. It was a book. And books aren't selling as well as they used to. So Guinness changed what they were selling, and who they were selling to.

#794: How To Make It In The Music Business

September 15th, 2017


Behind almost all popular music, there is this hidden economy of music producers buying and selling sonic snippets, texting each other half-finished …

#647: Hard Work Is Irrelevant

September 13th, 2017


Patty McCord helped create a workplace at Netflix that runs more like a professional sports team than a family. If you're not up to scratch, you're off the team. Is this the future of work?

#793: This Week in Time Bombs

September 9th, 2017


We look at three time bombs Congress is sitting on: The federal budget, the debt ceiling, and DREAMers.

#628: This Ad's For You

September 6th, 2017


Tom Burrell was the first black man in Chicago advertising. He went on to change the way we think about ads, and the way advertisers think about us.

#792: The Ransom Problem

September 2nd, 2017


When someone has been kidnapped, what do you do? If you pay ransom, you create a market for hostages. If you don't, people die. Different countries …

#791: Tips From Spies

August 30th, 2017


There's an entire universe of things spies are not allowed to tell us. Today on the show, a few of the teeny things they can say. They might come in handy.

#790: Rough Translation in Ukraine

August 25th, 2017


Fake news from Russia helped spark a real war in Ukraine. What can Ukraine's fight against fake news teach the US?

#652: The Hydrox Resurrection

August 23rd, 2017


Hidden in the trash heap of commerce there is buried treasure. Abandoned brands--including trusted, beloved brands--are waiting to be claimed and reborn. Today on the show: A cookie comeback.

#789: Robocall Invasion

August 18th, 2017


Your phone rings--it looks like your neighbor's calling. But instead, it's the creepiest scam of the year.

#653: The Anti-Store

August 16th, 2017


Costco made shopping harder, and customers loved it. Now a new company is taking the Costco experience to new extremes.

#788: Robert And Kenny Go To The Fair

August 11th, 2017


When we go to the state fair, we don't go for the rides, deep-fried tacos or the butter cow. We head straight for the vendor marketplace to meet the masters of the lost art of salesmanship.

#399: Can You Patent a Steak?

August 9th, 2017


We visit the workshop of the meat inventor who came up with Steak-Umm and KFC's popcorn chicken. And we try to figure out what meat inventors tell us about patents and innovation.

#787: Google Is Big. Is That Bad?

August 4th, 2017


Google just got hit with a multibillion-dollar antitrust fine. Here's what it tells us about competition, market power, and the biggest corporations …

#471: The Eddie Murphy Rule

August 2nd, 2017


We answer one of the most important questions in finance: What actually happens at the end of Trading Places?

#786: Rest of the Story 2017, Vol. 1

July 28th, 2017


News moves fast. Some of our best stories from this year have new chapters. Here, we catch up on three: Dirty trademarks, trading bots, and the war against the bald eagle.

#629: Buy Low, Sell Prime

July 26th, 2017


Sam Cohen buys stuff at big retail stores, then turns around and sells it on Amazon for a quick profit. It defies economic logic. But somehow, …

#785: The Starbury

July 21st, 2017


Most athlete endorsements make a product more expensive. But what happens when an NBA All-Star uses his name to make a sneaker much, much cheaper? On today's show: How that worked out.

#594: Board Games

July 19th, 2017


On today's show: The story of two guys who tried to cut the pay of a CEO at a small pneumatic tool company.

#784: Meeting The Russians

July 14th, 2017


That meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer was two decades in the making. It began in 1996, when an adventurous American went to Russia, trying to make a buck.

#783: New Jersey Bails Out

July 12th, 2017


Bail is broken. In New Jersey, defense attorneys, prosecutors, and judges banded together to try a dramatic solution: Blow it up.

#782: Budget Time

July 7th, 2017


We run through the entire federal budget — in 10 minutes. More than $6 billion per second. Go.

#586: How Stuff Gets Cheaper

July 5th, 2017


We visit a company where people work on figuring out how to make stuff get cheaper.

#781: The Money Fixers

June 30th, 2017


In Washington, D.C., there is a place where millions of dollars of ripped, burned, and water-soaked dollar bills are made new. On today's show, we …

#286: Libertarian Summer Camp

June 28th, 2017


We visited a libertarian summer paradise. What we found: People paying in gold. Exotic bacon dishes. A nine-year-old selling alcohol.

#780: On Second Thought

June 23rd, 2017


Flip-floppers, this one's for you. Changing your mind is hard, but it's one of the smartest things you can do.

#779: Shrimp Fight Club

June 21st, 2017


What happens when an unstoppable shrimp meets an unmovable senator? A researcher goes to Washington to defend herself, her shrimp, and science itself.

#778: What the Falcon's Up With Qatar?

June 16th, 2017


Qatar was on top of the world. Seemingly overnight, it became a pariah. On this episode, we drill into a rift years in the making: It's a tale of falcons, kidnapping, and a glowing Saudi Arabian orb.

#610: The Prisoner's Solution

June 14th, 2017


Today on the show, a businessman goes to prison, and decides he is going to disrupt the biggest captive market in America.

#777: Free Love, Free Market

June 10th, 2017


How a free-love commune embraced the free market and became a blockbuster brand.

#776: Here We Grow Again

June 7th, 2017


The president's budget promises 3% growth. Is that doable? Yes, but he won't like what it would take.

#775: The Pigweed Killer

June 3rd, 2017


A battle with a weed divides neighbors and leads one farmer to shoot another dead. Today's show: The hunt for a better pesticide gets way out of hand.

#599: The Invisible Wall

May 31st, 2017


A man goes looking for the invisible wall that traps poor people in poverty. Finding it almost gets him killed.

#774: Unspeakable Trademark

May 26th, 2017


You can name your business whatever you want. But the government won't register it as a trademark if it thinks it's offensive. It gets weird when you try to decide what is too offensive to trademark.

#773: Slot Flaws Scofflaws

May 24th, 2017


As long as there have been casinos, people have tried to cheat them. The latest attempt was by a group of hackers who tried to take down slot …

#772: Small Change

May 19th, 2017


How fast is the world really changing? The answer has implications for everything from how the next generation will live to whether robots really will take all our jobs.

#606: Spreadsheets!

May 17th, 2017


The creation of the electronic spreadsheet transformed industries. But its effects ran deeper than that.

#771: When India's Cash Disappeared, Part Two

May 12th, 2017


What happened when India's Prime Minister declared most of the paper money in India worthless? We travel to India to see what happened after the country's demonetization.

#770: When India's Cash Disappeared, Part One

May 11th, 2017


Something incredible happened in India about six months ago. The government declared most of the paper money invalid. Demonetization they called it. Today, we meet the man who came up with the plan.

#769: Speed Dating For Economists

May 5th, 2017


We visit a job market created by economists, for economists. It's a hyper-efficient, optimized system, tested by game theorists, tweaked by a Nobel Prize winner, but it requires comfortable shoes.

#768: A Chat With Ben Bernanke

May 3rd, 2017


Ten years ago, two little-known funds at Bear Stearns blew up, and the financial crisis was on its way. Today, we ask the person at the center of it all, former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, why it happened.

#553: The Dollar At The Center Of The World

April 28th, 2017


Today on the show, how a New Hampshire hotel filled with boozing economists saved the global economy.

#767: Georgetown, Louisiana, Part Two

April 27th, 2017


In 1838, the Maryland Jesuits sold 272 people, slaves, to pay the debts of Georgetown University. We talk with the descendants about what - if …

#766: Georgetown, Louisiana, Part One

April 21st, 2017


For the residents of a small Louisiana town, there's always been a question about their past: How'd they get there? Solving the mystery only raised …

#765: The Holiday Industrial Complex

April 18th, 2017


Where do holidays like National Potato Chip Day and Argyle Day come from? We trace the roots of one made-up holiday until we find out who is running …

#381: When Business Loves Regulation

April 14th, 2017


One in three American jobs require a license. Today on the show, why those licensing rules hurt the U.S. economy.

#764: Pub In A Box

April 12th, 2017


One man figured out how to reproduce the magic of an Irish pub, and ship it in a container to anywhere in the world.

#763: BOTUS

April 7th, 2017


On today's show, we get in on the future of investing. We build an automated stock-trading bot. It analyzes the twitter feed of President Donald …

#531: The Tough, The Sweet, The Nosy

April 5th, 2017


The tricks and mind games tax collectors use to get people to pay up.

#762: The Fine Print

March 31st, 2017


On today's show: Snuggies, printer toner, and a banking road trip. Three stories about what happens when you actually read the fine print.

#650: The Business Genius Behind Get Out

March 29th, 2017


Jason Blum makes a lot of movies and makes them cheap. So why are so many turning into blockbusters?

#761: The Bank War

March 25th, 2017


A populist president versus the most powerful banker in America.

#760: Tax Hero

March 23rd, 2017


One professor had a way to make filing taxes easy and painless. It worked. People loved it. But then a big tax lobby heard about it...

#759: What's It Worth To You?

March 17th, 2017


Three short stories about putting a price on something hard to value precisely. We go from $4.66 under a pillow all the way up to $1 trillion across every inch of highway in America.

#522: The Invention Of 'The Economy'

March 15th, 2017


A hundred years ago, nobody talked about "the economy." That's because easy ways to measure and talk about it hadn't been invented. On today's show: how we started boiling nations down to a number.

#758: Can Trump Take The Money?

March 11th, 2017


The Constitution contains a paragraph known as the Emoluments Clause. It's 49 words meant to prevent foreign influence on US officials. How does it …

#596: Hacking The iPhone For Fun, Profit, And Maybe Espionage

March 9th, 2017


Wikileaks released documents listing the hacks the CIA uses to spy on people. So we revisit our story on hackers for hire: people hunting for flaws in your phone to sell to people, or even the CIA.

#757: Strong Feelings About Dodd-Frank

March 4th, 2017


President Trump does not like Dodd-Frank, the 2010 law that transformed banking regulation. On today's show, we ask: What are the key parts of the …

#513: Dear Economist, I Need A Date

March 1st, 2017


Here at Planet Money, we often wonder: how useful is economics in our everyday lives? Could the principles of economics be applied to the most …

#756: The Bees Go To California

February 25th, 2017


Early every year, 30 billion bees make their way across the country to California's Central Valley. Here's why.

#654: When The Boats Arrive

February 22nd, 2017


In the span of a few months in 1980, more than 100,000 Cuban immigrants arrived in Miami. So what happened to Florida's economy with all these new people coming in? And what can we learn from it?

#755: The Phone At The End Of The World

February 18th, 2017


A charismatic populist president wanted to boost manufacturing and create jobs. She told companies, 'if you want to sell your stuff here, you have to …

#754: I'm So Happy For You!

February 14th, 2017


Here at Planet Money, our favorite stories are the ones we wish we'd done ourselves. On the show, we call out rivals and colleagues who did what we …

#753: Blockchain Gang

February 11th, 2017


Charlie Shrem went to prison. While he was there, he thought up a better way to move money behind bars. Now he's out and trying to sell his idea to international investors.

#436: If Economists Controlled The Borders

February 8th, 2017


What would the perfect immigration system look like? We ask three economists and get three very different answers. (None of which include building a …

#752: Eagles vs. Chickens

February 4th, 2017


Picture an organic farm, with thousands of free-range chickens roaming wide-open land. Now picture it from above, from the vantage of a soaring bald eagle. It's an all-you-can-eat buffet.

#751: The Thing About That Border Tax

February 2nd, 2017


Over the next few months, we're going to explain President Trump's economic plans. Today: a totally new idea for corporate taxes. What's the plan, what's the theory behind it, and does it work?

#750: Retraining Day

January 28th, 2017


When an American loses his/her job to trade, there is program to help. It's been around for decades. It makes a lot of sense. It is a generous program. And almost nobody's heard of it. But why?

#632: The Chicken Tax

January 25th, 2017


President Trump talks about putting tariffs on foreign cars. But there are already tariffs on auto imports and one got there because of chickens in Germany. This is how trade barriers tend to spread.

#749: Professor Blackjack

January 20th, 2017


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.

#748: Undoing Obama

January 19th, 2017


Congress writes laws, but the president makes the rules that put the laws in action. President Obama's staff has been scrambling to lock in rules …

#747: The Man Who Sued Iran

January 13th, 2017


When Steve Flatow's daughter was killed in a terror attack, he wanted someone to pay. His target was the Iranian government. His quest would pit him …

#577: The Kansas Experiment

January 12th, 2017


A Republican governor lives the dream. He cuts taxes dramatically in his state and he promises good times ahead. But the good times do not come.

#746: Wall Street Goes To Vegas

January 6th, 2017


Wall Street traders and Las Vegas gamblers have a lot in common. But when a Wall Street firm set up shop taking Vegas bets, both sides got a surprise.

#443: Don't Believe The Hype

January 5th, 2017


People are talking about how the Dow Jones Industrial Average is about to hit a new record: Twenty thousand. We have a pretty strong opinion about …

#745: The Rest Of The Story, 2016 Edition

December 30th, 2016


It's time for an annual Planet Money tradition--we revisit some of our favorite stories from the past year, and see what's changed since we turned off our mics.

#744: The Last Bank Bailout

December 27th, 2016


The man who ran the last bank bailout has a plan to prevent the next one.

587: Jubilee! (?)

December 23rd, 2016


There's an idea that dates back at least to biblical times. That there should be a moment when debts are forgiven. Its called a jubilee. One country …

#743: 50 Ways to Leave Your Union

December 21st, 2016


Today on the show, two unions separated by 200 years, an ocean and an exit clause. The United States has no exit clause. It led to civil war. Europe, on the other hand, has Article 50.

#742: Making Bank

December 17th, 2016


On today's show, how a band of medieval warrior monks sworn to poverty got into the banking business and changed the way we think about money forever.

#592: Bell Wars

December 14th, 2016


A special holiday episode about the epic, decades-long feud between the two companies that make just about every handbell in the world.

#741: Amy and Steve vs. Facebook

December 10th, 2016


The story of a court case. On one side, the best lawyers money can buy. On the other, a night school lawyer who had never argued a case before. The …

#740: Burnout

December 8th, 2016


All types of companies are struggling with burnout. Many try to fix it. Most of them fail. One exception: A 26-year-old call center manager, with …

#739: Finding The Fake-News King

December 3rd, 2016


We track down a fake-news creator in the suburbs, uncover his empire of fake-news sites, and get him to tell us his secrets.

#534: The History Of Light

November 30th, 2016


In this episode: How we got from candles made out of cow fat to as much light as we want. The history of light is the history of economic growth — of things getting faster, cheaper, and more efficient.

#738: Russian Cowboys

November 25th, 2016


Russia's latest ambition: To build a steak empire. On today's show, a fourth-generation American cowboy teaches Russian ranchers how to make American-style steaks. Some things get lost in translation.

#737: 17 Deals In 17 Minutes

November 23rd, 2016


We go on a madcap dash through discounts, bargains and tough tradeoffs. Like the headline says: We bring you stories of 17 deals in just 17 minutes (not counting the intro, the ad, or the credits).

#736: Messy Nobel

November 18th, 2016


What happens when a creativity guru meets the winner of this year's Nobel Memorial Prize in economics? You get life lessons in making art, and negotiating contracts.

#574: The Buffalo Talk-Off

November 16th, 2016


The story of a guy who tried to make something of himself by getting into a rough business. And the story of a time when the world went wild for debt.

#735: President Trump

November 12th, 2016


Candidates promise all kinds of things. But once they get into office, it's not always possible to carry through on them. We ask, can Trump do the things he's pledged to do?

#734: The Trump Indicators

November 10th, 2016


Donald Trump is our president elect. We look at three economic indicators to see what they can tell us about a Trump presidency.

#733: A Trunk Full of Truffles

November 5th, 2016


Truffles are a lumpy, smelly fungus. They're also one of the most coveted foods in the world. Why are they so expensive? And why are people willing to pay so much for them?

#413: Our Fake Candidate Meets The People

November 2nd, 2016


On today's show, Planet Money's economist-approved fake candidate makes his first ads. Then we nervously watch to see what a focus group thinks of them.

#732: Bad Form, Wells Fargo

October 29th, 2016


Banks like Wells Fargo have a weapon that can destroy an employee's career: A form. A long, boring form most people don't even know exists.

#387: The No-Brainer Economic Platform

October 26th, 2016


Behold the Planet Money economic platform, crafted by brilliant economists of all stripes, and pure poison to any politician who embraces it.

#731: How Venezuela Imploded

October 21st, 2016


Venezuela has just about every economic advantage a country could ask for: fertile land, good climate, educated population, and oil, lots and lots of …

#730: Self Checkout

October 20th, 2016


A doctor treating psychiatric patients in an emergency room created the first self-checkout machine in his spare time. Now he can't stand self checkout. So we take him shopping.

#729: When Subaru Came Out

October 15th, 2016


Subaru's sales had been slumping for years. So the car company took a big risk and targeted a group of consumers that just about everyone else was ignoring.

#627: The Miracle Apple

October 12th, 2016


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.

#728: The Wells Fargo Hustle

October 8th, 2016


We take you inside the headquarters of Wells Fargo bank. It's a place where a bunch of young, stressed-out workers were rewarded for doing some very bad things.

#521: The Town That Loves Death

October 5th, 2016


On today's episode, we'll take you to a place where dying has become acceptable dinner conversation. A place that also happens to have the lowest healthcare spending of any region in the country.

#727: You Asked For It, Again

October 1st, 2016


New show! You asked us questions about the economy and oddities in your world. We answer.

#726: Terms of the Debate

September 28th, 2016


We made an audio glossary for the confusing economic jargon that came up during the first presidential debate.

#725: Trade Show

September 24th, 2016


On today's show: The fight over free trade. Come for the man who dreamed of world peace through trade. Stay for Robert Smith in the mean streets of Seattle.

#555: Why Is The Milk In The Back Of The Store?

September 21st, 2016


We test two competing theories, from a food writer and an economist. Are customers being forced to walk through the store or is it just practical to keep the milk at the back?

#573: Why Textbook Prices Keep Climbing

September 16th, 2016


Prices of new textbooks have been going up like crazy — faster than food, cars, even healthcare. On today's show: Why textbooks have gotten so expensive.

#724: Cat Scam

September 14th, 2016


The internet was supposed to get rid of middlemen--but instead they are taking over the global economy.

#566: The Zoo Economy

September 9th, 2016


If you're a zoo or aquarium and you want a new animal, you don't use money to get it. You have to find another way. In this episode, we investigate: How many mackerel is a flock of puffins worth?

Loading ...

Download the RadioPublic app for
 FREE and never miss an episode.

Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store