Archive for the ‘Teaching Ideas’ Category

Where Does the Money for Stimulus Checks Come From?   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.marketplace.org/shows/make-me-smart-with-kai-and-molly/where-does-the-money-for-stimulus-checks-come-from/

$1.86 trillion in relief spending has been authorized by congress, which will be financed by the sale of government bonds and other debt instruments. The Federal Reserve Bank will purchase many of these bonds which will cause an inflow of money into the economy. This podcast also elaborates on the inflationary implications of the stimulus checks entering the economy.

There is also discussion of Google’s market power and vaccination progress.

Discussion Prompt: What is the intended goal of the stimulus checks and what unintended consequences can arise as a result?

Original Air Date: March 17, 2021

Length: 19 minutes and 34 seconds

Economics, Sexism, Data   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2019/05/03/720139562/episode-910-economics-sexism-data

As International Women’s Month begins, this podcast by Planet Money helps highlight some of the issues involving sexism and economics. At the time Alice Wu was an economics undergraduate at UC Berkeley and had found an online job forum but was shocked to see the attitude and banter relating to women in the field of economics. She then used her econ skills to analyze the inherent bias found on the site and put out a report on her findings, leading to many woman in the economic field sharing their stories and exposing some of the sexism they have had to face.

Discussion Prompt: What are some ways that social issues, such as sexism can be address throughout a whole field like economics?

Original Air Date: May 3, 2019

Length: 24 minutes 20 seconds

Educated Workers and America’s Competitiveness   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.stlouisfed.org/timely-topics/educated-workers-and-americas-competitiveness

The United States used to lead the world in their percentage of college graduates. Today, the U.S is lagging behind countries like Japan and South Korea. Dr. Monge-Naranjo from the Federal Reserve Bank discusses how this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and how the United States can benefit from the ideas and technologies being produced elsewhere.

Original Air Date: August 31 2020

Length: 3 minutes 13 seconds

Discussion Prompt: What other ways can this idea benefit the United States? What ways could this be harmful to the United States? Is there any significance or advantage to being “number 1” in terms of college educated workers?

Winter is coming for the restaurant industry   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/11/18/936321423/winter-is-coming-for-the-restaurant-industry

Bar Gernika in Boise, Idaho

The Planet Money Indicator team explores the choices facing restaurants around the U.S. as the pandemic winter approaches. Includes an interview with a restaurant in Idaho that has implemented new strategies in the 2020 economic reality.

Assignment prompt: How does this podcast illustrate the short-run shutdown decision for firms? Use specific economic concepts from your reading and this podcast to explain the decision making process in general and specifically for firms in a crisis, such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

Original Air Date: November 18, 2020

Length: 9 minutes

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?

Vials, syringes, Packaging: The Small but Vital Components of COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.marketplace.org/2020/09/18/covid-19-vaccine-components-vials-syringes-packaging-distribution/

There is increasing demand for a Covid-19 vaccine, and although many are developing, scientists are still unsure when an effective vaccine will be finished. There is also concern that low income countries will struggle to gain equitable access to the vaccine once it is produced. Thomas Cueni, the director general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations emphasized the importance of high income countries buying into efforts which would subsidize lower income countries.

Original Air Date: September 18, 2020

Length: 5 minutes 10 seconds

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. 

The Great Potato Giveaway   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/04/23/843437140/the-great-potato-giveaway

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the agriculture supply chain has been suffering. Although the shelves at grocery stores are not fully stocked, farmers are giving away their goods, or even turning it into fertilizer.

Original Air Date: April 23 2020

Length: 9 minutes 25 seconds

Discussion Prompt: How will this affect the agriculture industry? What does this tell us about how these markets are functioning? What solutions can you propose which would help the industry financially?

Why Sweden Isn’t Locking Down   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/04/09/831325721/why-sweden-isnt-locking-down

The majority of countries across the globe are enforcing mandatory lockdowns, but not Sweden. All businesses are remaining open, including schools, night clubs and gyms. Sweden’s head epidemiologist states that this approach is more sustainable and less disruptive to peoples’ lives.

Original Air Date: April 9, 2020

Length: 9 minutes 57 seconds

Discussion Prompt: Do you agree or disagree with Sweden’s approach to this pandemic? Why or why not?

Note: Sweden’s chief epidemiologist has since admitted this policy resulted in “too many deaths