Economics is a game you should know how to play. And once you get the fundamental concepts, you start to see it everywhere: the news, the supermarket and even your dating life. So it's time to learn the rules. Planet Money Summer School is a crash course in economics for your ears. See the world through the lens of an economist and you'll start to feel a little less overwhelmed when making financial decisions. And if you're in front of the classroom? Teachers, this is made for you, too. Let us be your breezy and fun companion to assigned readings. We'll even assign the homework (and spare you the groans). Go beyond summer school and stay up-to-date on the economy with the latest episodes of the Planet Money podcast.
MBA 8: Graduation and the Guppy Tank
Congratulations to the Planet Money Summer School Class of 2023! Today, you become masters of business administration... spelled with lower-case letters for legal purposes. Your diploma is waiting for you just across the stage.But first, there's one final skill to impart: the pitch. We wouldn't be doing our job as a half-baked parody of a business school if we didn't leave you with the confidence and opportunity to stand in front of an investor and ask for money. We understand what you ambitious business school graduates really want is the chance to launch something and get rich.So we're combining graduation with a little test of ideas, a showdown of startups, a competition of companies. We are going to put our own spin on a pitch competition like you see on Shark Tank. We hear from five listeners with real ideas for startups.Can they make a successful pitch? What will investors be looking for in their presentation? Can they come prepared with persuasive
30/08/2023 • 32 minutes 20 seconds
MBA 7: Negotiating and the empathetic nibble
How do you get the best deal? How do you know you're getting the best deal? Whether you're talking down the price of a car or talking up your salary, you don't have to be a jerk to get what you want. Negotiations can be win-win – if you know what to ask for and how to grow the pie.We have three stories in today's episode about how to negotiate tactically. First, a hostage negotiator tries to buy a car. Will he get far? Then, one man's encounter at the airline ticket booth may inform how you respond to your next job offer. Finally, how to avoid a food fight and make a deal that benefits everybody.We'll learn about something called BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement, which can tell you when to stand firm and when to walk away. We'll find out how to shift our thinking about what success can look like in a negotiation, and shift your counterpart's thinking too.Come learn the techniques of expert negotiators in the penultimate epis
23/08/2023 • 34 minutes 13 seconds
MBA 6: Operations and 25,000 roses
"It's difficult to control everything," says our guest professor for this week, Santiago Gallino. "What is not difficult is to plan for everything." Today we venture into the sphere of business that masters the planning, and backup planning: operations management.It's more than just predicting a bottleneck and imagining a solution, because there's always a bottleneck to clear. It's about modeling, and weighing the costs of messing up vs. missing out. For instance, take a newspaper vendor who has to decide how many newspapers to sell tomorrow morning. Do they buy fewer, knowing that they'll sell out–and then miss out on potential revenue from papers not sold? Or do they order more than they expect to sell, just in case–and eat the cost of a few unsold papers? This type of trade-off applies to all kinds of businesses, and Gallino talks us through how to choose.The only certainty in this life is uncertainty. But we are certain you will come out of this episode feeling bett
16/08/2023 • 32 minutes 46 seconds
MBA 5: Tech and the innovator's dilemma
For anyone running a business, technology is both threat and opportunity. Today, we run through techniques entrepreneurs can use to take advantage of new tech or defend against the dangers. It's not just about the product you're selling. It's about consumer psychology, and ethics, and taking calculated risks to navigate uncertainty.But, since this is Planet Money Summer School and we want to set your business on the path to riches, we're going to talk about how to use tech to dream big. Maybe more than anything, technology creates opportunities for the little guys where the big established companies can't be so nimble or have too much to lose. Take the classic concept of the innovator's dilemma: a company that innovated and succeeded, now faces a choice about any disruptive new technology. Do they risk tossing out their existing advantage and switch to the new tech, or play it safe and risk becoming obsolete?Most new technologies don't end up disrupting an indus
09/08/2023 • 34 minutes 42 seconds
MBA 4: Marketing and the Ultimate Hose Nozzle
In this session of Planet Money Summer School, we are getting the word out about your brand. How do you convince consumers to buy your product, even if they are only just hearing about it? It's time for sales and marketing!If you've watched a show like Mad Men or The Office, you know the importance of a strong pitch. It's precision-crafted to show how what you're selling can solve a problem your customer needs solved. Sometimes it even creates the need. Once you've got your sales pitch, it's time to get the word out: marketing. Where to spread that message? How to make it unforgettable? Instantly recognizable? What is going to be your Just do it? Your Think different? Your Where's the beef?In our case studies today, we look at a product so cleverly marketed, the company doesn't need to market it at all anymore and customers wait years to get it: the Birkin bag. And we hear lessons from some of the world's most time tested sal
02/08/2023 • 33 minutes 23 seconds
MBA 3: Accounting and the Last Supper
Usually, the first class that an MBA student takes is accounting. That involves, yes, equations and counting widgets...but it's more than that. Inside the simple act of accounting is a revolutionary way of thinking not just about a business, but about the world. A universe where all the forces are in balance. Accounting gives you a sixth sense–one that can help you determine whether your business will survive or fail.In this class, you'll learn the basics of accounting, and uncover its origins. We'll introduce you to the man who helped it spread around the world. He was a monk, a magician, and possibly the boyfriend of Leonardo da Vinci.Is accounting... sexy?Yes. Yes it is.Find all episodes of Planet Money Summer School here.This series is hosted by Robert Smith, and produced by Max Freedman. Our project manager is Julia Carney. This episode was edited
26/07/2023 • 32 minutes 46 seconds
Summer School 2: Competition and the cheaper sneaker
For episode 2 of Planet Money Summer School, we are talking strategy. You have your million dollar business idea, and maybe some money in your pocket to get it up and running. But now you enter into a crowded market. You have to deal with competition. So, what can you do to make sure your product is a success? That was the conundrum facing the Starbury. It was a basketball shoe with a celebrity endorsement, that had to go up against THE basketball shoe with THE celebrity endorsement: the Air Jordan. Our first story is about the ways in which the Starbury succeeded and failed in taking on a juggernaut.Then, we will hear a story about trying to avoid the dangers of "perfect" competition. Two companies making almost identical handbells learn that the key to their success lies in convincing customers how different they really are.<a href="https://www.npr.org/2020/07/15/884
20/07/2023 • 31 minutes 56 seconds
Summer School 1: Planet Money goes to business school
Find all episodes of Planet Money Summer School here.Planet Money Summer School is back! It's the free economics class you can take from anywhere... for everyone! For Season 4 of Summer School, we are taking you to business school. It's time to get your MBA, the easy way!In this first class: Everyone has a million dollar business idea (e.g., "Shazam but for movies"), but not everyone has what it takes to be an entrepreneur. We have two stories about founders who learned the hard way what goes into starting a small business, and getting it up and running.First, a story about Frederick Hutson, who learned about pain points and unique value propositions when he founded a company to help inmates and their families share photos. Then, we take a trip to Columbia, Mar
20/07/2023 • 32 minutes 55 seconds
Macroeconomics 8: Productivity & Getting Lit
Productivity is our economic measure for how far our work goes, as individuals and as a society over all. It plays an important role in determining our quality of life, the prices of our goods and services, and, to some extent, the amount of free time we have. Today, we explore how thousands of years of productivity advancements transformed something now so standard that we take it for granted: light. | At this Summer School, phones ARE allowed during class... Check out this week's PM TikTok! | Listen to past seasons of Summer School here.
31/08/2022 • 30 minutes 47 seconds
Macroeconomics 7: The Fed & Volcker's Socks
The Federal Reserve plays a very important role in the economy. When things start to look uncertain, the central bank is tasked with stepping in to restore people's confidence in the economy. But how do they do it? On today's episode we dive deep on monetary policy and the role of the fed. |At this Summer School, phones ARE allowed during class... Check out this week's PM TikTok! | Listen to past seasons of Summer School here.
24/08/2022 • 32 minutes 22 seconds
Macroeconomics 6: Trade & The Better Life
International trade is the web of cross-border relationships that binds economies together. Because of trade we have access to cheaper, higher-quality goods, and we get to benefit from other countries' cultures. Economics tells us trade makes society, overall on average, better off, but that doesn't mean everyone wins. Today, the good and bad of trade through the eyes of workers in developing economies who make the things sold around the world. We follow them as they navigate the ever-shifting international trade environment. |At this Summer School, phones ARE allowed during class... Check out this week's PM TikTok! | Listen to past seasons of Summer School here.
17/08/2022 • 33 minutes 11 seconds
Macroeconomics 5: Car Parts, Celery & The Labor Market
You can learn a lot about a person from their job. The same can be said of an economy. The market for jobs can us a lot about how the economy is doing, but more importantly, it is where we look to see who the economy is working for, and who is left behind. In today's lesson we'll visit two workplaces each facing a different labor puzzle. At one end, there's the question of when to replace a worker with a robot, and what it is like to be that worker waiting for the robots to come. We'll also visit a farm where raising wages aren't enough to attract the workers needed to do the work. How wages are set, and who gets the raises on this session of Summer School. | Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney. |At this Summer School, phones ARE allowed during class... Check out this week's PM <a href="https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&
11/08/2022 • 33 minutes 13 seconds
Macroeconomics 4: Inflation & Drinking Buddies
Inflation can be one of the scariest forces in the economy. As prices rise and your dollar doesn't go as far, you feel poorer, and it's all out of your control. To better understand inflation, we turn to the story of Brazil, where, in the 90s, hyperinflation threatened to derail the whole economy until the country turned to a group of unlikely heroes: four drinking buddies. | Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney. |At this Summer School, phones ARE allowed during class... Check out this week's PM TikTok! | Listen to past seasons of Summer School here.
04/08/2022 • 30 minutes 32 seconds
Macroeconomics 3: Booms, Busts & Us
Life has its ups and downs. Same for the economy. Today we ask, can the business cycle be tamed? Two stories of recession and techniques for moderating the ferocity of booms and busts. Plus, how bankruptcy is a secret weapon of the American economy. | Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney. | At this Summer School, phones ARE allowed during class... Check out this week's PM TikTok! | Listen to past seasons of Summer School here.
28/07/2022 • 32 minutes 47 seconds
Macroeconomics 2: GDP & What Counts
What even is "the economy"? And how do you measure it? Our path out of the economic darkness and into the light has been guided in large part by one single statistic: GDP. This week: the origins, history, and problems with the economic indicator to rule them all. | At this Summer School, phones ARE allowed during class... Check out this week's PM TikTok! | Listen to past seasons of Summer School here.
21/07/2022 • 25 minutes 5 seconds
Macroeconomics 1: Recessions & Rap Battles
Season 3 of summer school is here asking the biggest economic questions about what makes an entire economy grow or contract.Episode 1 begins with the rise of macroeconomics as a field, with one of the great economic debates of the 20th century: what causes booms and busts, and what can the government do about it? How free should a free market be? It's a debate (over beats and with an actual rap battle) between John Maynard Keynes and F.A. Hayek.Watch this Tik Tok to learn more and listen to our Spotify playlist. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
14/07/2022 • 31 minutes 7 seconds
Investing 6: Crypto & Commencement
In the last class of Planet Money Summer School Season 2, we cover one more important market — cryptocurrency. If you're thinking about investing in crypto, do you know exactly what it is that you're buying? Or how it should (if at all) fit alongside the rest of your investments? | Watch this Tik Tok to learn more and subscribe to our weekly newsletter here | Don't forget to take the Summer School Final Quiz.
02/09/2021 • 36 minutes 12 seconds
Investing 5: Bubbles, Bikes, & Biases
Investing during a bubble can leave you bust. But how to tell the difference between a bubble before it bursts and an investing rocket ship taking off? We'll run through a historical example and look inside our own thinking to find the mental biases that can contribute or exacerbate bad bubble thinking. | Watch this Tik Tok to learn more and subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
25/08/2021 • 29 minutes 26 seconds
Investing 4: Bonds & Becky With the Good Yield
A few years back, Cardiff asked for an unusual Christmas present: a junk bond... Parallel to the stock market, the bond market offers different levels of risk and reward. In this class, what is a bond, how do they differ from stocks, and how do they help companies grow? | Watch this Tik Tok to learn more. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
18/08/2021 • 33 minutes 13 seconds
Investing 3: Smooth Spending & The 401K
Even if you don't own stocks, there are a lot of reasons to care about investing. We meet some of the folks left out of the stock market who deploy sophisticated economic thinking, even creating their own alternate financial systems. Our professors help us understand how consumption smoothing and life-cycle theory apply to personal finance. And we meet the creator of the 401(k). | Watch this Tik Tok to learn more. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
11/08/2021 • 34 minutes 5 seconds
Investing 2: Index Funds & The Bet
In 2006, Warren Buffett bet a million dollars that the most brainless, boring investment around would do better than the researched, handpicked investments of some of the smartest hedge fund managers in the world. The second class of Summer School looks at how that bet played out, the origins of the index fund, and why it's so hard to beat the market. Returning to the underlying theme of risk and reward, we also discuss how diversification reduces risk. | Watch this TikTok to learn more. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
04/08/2021 • 34 minutes 31 seconds
Investing 1: The Stock Market & Penelope The Cow
The first class of Planet Money Summer School starts off with a field trip. With the help of a cow, two economists, and three cute animals, we learn what a stock is and how stocks are priced, and we begin to see the psychological forces that make prices move up and down on the stock market. Keep an eye out throughout for our big theme for the course this summer: risk and reward. | Watch this Tik Tok to learn more. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
28/07/2021 • 38 minutes 37 seconds
Intro Econ: Graduation!
Summer School graduates take the stage to show us how we can all see our everyday world through the beautiful lens of economics. | Take the final exam and get your diploma here.
02/09/2020 • 20 minutes 10 seconds
Intro Econ 8: Risk & Disaster
Inside one insurance policy is a world of incentives and bad behaviors. Take the final exam and get your diploma here.
26/08/2020 • 27 minutes 32 seconds
Intro Econ 7: Advertising & Race
A Black ad executive figures out how to reach diverse audiences.
19/08/2020 • 29 minutes 59 seconds
Intro Econ 6: Taxes & Donald Duck
The surprisingly entertaining history of the income tax. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
12/08/2020 • 27 minutes 41 seconds
Intro Econ 5: Trade & Santa
The economics of free trade and what happens when governments get involved. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
05/08/2020 • 26 minutes 24 seconds
Intro Econ 4: Scarcity & Pistachios
Class 4 brings us an economic conundrum: how do you efficiently share a scarce resource? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
29/07/2020 • 28 minutes 31 seconds
Intro Econ 3: Profit & Cocaine
In our third class, we take all that we've learned about decisions and markets and bring it to a former drug kingpin. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
23/07/2020 • 27 minutes 58 seconds
Intro Econ 2: Markets & Pickles
In our second class, we meet our old friends supply and demand and do graphs using only the power of the human voice. Then, we show you how markets can be created anywhere by telling the story of a food bank that had too many pickles and not enough pancake syrup. It's economics to the rescue. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
16/07/2020 • 31 minutes 23 seconds
Intro Econ 1: Choices & Dating
First lesson: Economics is not about money. It's a lens of great power and beauty. In this episode, we meet our teachers and learn the first four fundamental concepts of economic thinking, and watch them applied to things like dating and hailing a cab. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
08/07/2020 • 32 minutes 48 seconds
Introducing Planet Money Summer School
Introducing an economics education for your ears! We're calling it Planet Money Summer School. It's all the economics you meant to learn, but didn't get around to. Each Wednesday, we'll serve up a Planet Money story, or selection of excerpts, paired with insights from our economists-in-residence for the summer. Get an understanding of the basic concepts of economics going to the beach. You can pick up your economics knowledge while you bike, stroll the sand or just lay in the grass. Amuse your friends. Win arguments. Throw the words "diminishing marginal utility" into every discussion. Wednesdays in the PM feed this summer. (Fridays will be our usual coverage of the economy).