Archive for the ‘Planet Money’ Category

What is Bidenomics?   Leave a comment

Link:https://www.npr.org/2020/10/29/929127255/what-is-bidenomics

Biden has proposed an economic plan to contain the coronavirus while opening the economy again when it is safe to do so. His plan primarily focuses on affordable child care, creating more jobs in the green energy sector, and closing the racial wealth gap. This podcast discusses his plans to raise taxes on the wealthy, remove certain deductibles for these individuals, and increase taxes on corporations in order to fund some of these programs.

Original Air Date: October 29, 2020

Length: 9 minutes 42 seconds

Political Ad Nauseam   Leave a comment

Link:https://www.npr.org/2020/10/09/922424987/political-ad-nauseam

With the presidential election coming up, NPR looked into how much money campaigns pay for certain demographics of voters. Approximately 60% of campaign spending is typically targeted at TV ads in battleground states such as Wisconsin and Florida. Using a generic party model, campaign advertisers are able to identify which individuals have a higher probability of being a “swing voter”.

Original Air Date: October 9, 2020

Length: 22 minutes 35 seconds

Mask Communication   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/08/07/900273012/mask-communication

This podcast uses behavioral economics to analyze the reasons why people may refuse to wear masks. Economists believe when these individuals feel external constraints on their freedoms, they feel even less inclined to wear a mask. Behavioral economists discuss nudges/incentives that could be effective in this situation.

Original Air Date: August 7, 2020

Length: 26 minutes 26 seconds

Discussion Prompt: What are some other incentives you can think of that would influence more widespread mask wearing?

Negative Oil   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/04/22/842095406/episode-993-negative-oil

Oil prices have officially fallen well below a dollar in the United States. This is extremely telling about the current state of the economy, considering this has never happened before.

Original Air Date: April 22 2020

Length: 16 minutes 22 seconds

Discussion Prompt: What can this tell us about the state of the global economy at the time of negative oil? If you were advising policy makers, how important would you say this event was or was not? Why?

13,000 Economists, 1 Question   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/01/09/794977811/episode-963-13-000-economists-1-question

At the American Economic Association annual conference, some of the brightest economists answer the question, “What is the most useful idea in economics?”. Answers range from the idea of opportunity cost to thinking at the margin.

Original Air Date: January 10 2020

Length: 21 minutes 1 second

Discussion Prompt: What do you believe is this most useful idea in economics and why?

Written Prompt: Develop your own list of your top ten (or top 5) ‘most useful ideas’ in economics. Be sure to explain WHY you’ve made your selections.  You may use up to 3 of those referenced in the podcast, with your own explanations! The rest must be your idea. 

Lives Vs. The Economy   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/04/15/835571843/episode-991-lives-vs-the-economy

Economists discuss the valuation of human life model to determine when the appropriate time to open the economy is. Federal agencies typically value a human life at $10 million. Many economists recently have said that right now, it is not worth it to open the economy back up.

Original Air Date: April 15, 2020

Length: 25 minutes 24 seconds

So, Should we Recycle?   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2019/07/12/741283641/episode-926-so-should-we-recycle

China used to purchase the majority of waste that the United States could not (or did not want to) recycle by themselves. After China stopped purchasing U.S. recyclables, many cities have given up on recycling. Some economists even believe recycling may do more harm than good.

Original air date: July 12, 2019

Length: 23 minutes 6 seconds

Discussion prompt: What are the costs and benefits associated with recycling? Given this information, is recycling ‘worth it’? Can you think of any strategies based in economic-thinking that might approach this problem differently? 

The Race to Make Ventilators   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/03/31/824886286/episode-987-the-race-to-make-ventilators

In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, the healthcare industry is experiencing a shortage of ventilators. Without increased production, hundreds of thousands of individuals will die. Now, companies that have little to no experience producing ventilators are beginning to help supply them.

Original Air Date: March 31, 2020

Length: 24 minutes 3 seconds

Discussion Prompt: In what ways does this policy align with economic thinking? In what ways is it ‘out of step’ with economic thinking? Is this the most efficient way to produce ventilators, at least for the time being? How can the government incentivize companies to stay open and help produce parts for ventilators during this time? 

Where Do We Get $2,000,000,000,000?   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/03/26/821787090/episode-985-where-do-we-get-2-000-000-000-000

In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, the U.S. government is pushing out a $2 trillion stimulus package. The Fed is also purchasing large quantities of U.S. Treasury bonds in order to stimulate the economy. This podcast discusses where this stimulus is coming from, and how it will effect the economy.

Original Air Date: March 26, 2020

Length: 20 minutes 29 seconds

Discussion Prompt: Why is demand for U.S. Treasury bonds so high right now? Will the stimulus package be enough to keep the economy safe from a recession?

How to Save the Economy Now   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/03/19/818583204/episode-982-how-to-save-the-economy-now

Neel Kashkari from the Federal Reserve bank discusses his optimism about the future of the economy. He believes the Federal Reserve has learned from its mistakes during the 2008 crisis, and is now better equipped to react. The Fed is emergency lending in order to combat the effects of this economic uncertainty.

Original Air Date: March 20, 2020

Length: 13 minutes 43 seconds

Discussion Prompt: How is the current situation similar to the 2008 financial crisis? Should the Federal Reserve bail out banks and businesses during times like these?