David Kestenbaum http://publicradioeast.org en When Ikea Raises Its Minimum Wage, Where Does The Money Come From? http://publicradioeast.org/post/when-ikea-raises-its-minimum-wage-where-does-money-come Ikea, a company famous for keeping its costs down, recently announced that it would raise the average minimum wage for its retail workers to $10.76 an hour. Why would the company volunteer to pay its workers more?<p>"By taking better care of our coworkers," says Rob Olson, the acting president of Ikea U.S., "they will take better care of our customers, who will take better care of Ikea. We see it as a win-win-win opportunity."<p>Win. Win. Win. Sounds like a free lunch. Fri, 11 Jul 2014 07:31:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 46093 at http://publicradioeast.org When Ikea Raises Its Minimum Wage, Where Does The Money Come From? Volatility Index Indicates Wall Street Is Bored http://publicradioeast.org/post/fear-index-rate-reflects-investor-boredom An economic indicator commonly called the VIX, volatility index, is also known as the fear index. Whatever you call it, the index is hitting lows not seen since before the financial crisis. Thu, 12 Jun 2014 09:12:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 43739 at http://publicradioeast.org Why A Pack Of Peanut Butter M&M's Weighs A Tiny Bit Less Than A Regular Pack http://publicradioeast.org/post/why-pack-peanut-butter-mms-weighs-tiny-bit-less-regular-pack The other day I went down to the little shop in the lobby of our building for a snack. I couldn't decide whether I wanted regular M&M's or Peanut Butter M&M's so I bought them both. On the way back upstairs to the office, I noticed something strange on the labels. Each had cost $1, but the pack of Peanut Butter M&M's was a very tiny bit lighter: 0.06 ounces lighter!<p>I wanted to know why, so I called a couple of experts and asked for their theories:<p><strong>Theory No. Thu, 05 Jun 2014 22:08:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 43258 at http://publicradioeast.org Why A Pack Of Peanut Butter M&M's Weighs A Tiny Bit Less Than A Regular Pack On The Internet, A Penny Is Nothing To Sneeze At http://publicradioeast.org/post/internet-penny-nothing-sneeze <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.<img src="http://www.google-analytics.com/__utm.gif?utmac=UA-5828686-4&utmdt=On+The+Internet%2C+A+Penny+Is+Nothing+To+Sneeze+At&utme=8(APIKey)9(MDAxODc1ODA5MDEyMjg1MDYxNTFiZTgwZg004)"/></div><p>Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>Our Planet Money team this week is taking a look at the lowly penny. People discard pennies in bowls by cash registers. They walk by them on the street without a thought of picking them up. In fact, a lot of us don't even pick them up when we drop them. Thu, 22 May 2014 09:05:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 42013 at http://publicradioeast.org Is A Stradivarius Just A Violin? http://publicradioeast.org/post/stradivarius-just-violin The Stradivarius violin gets its name from master craftsman Antonio Stradivari. When he died in 1737, his secrets died with him: No one has ever been able to duplicate the sound of the violins or violas he made.<p>His instruments have taken on a mythical quality. Fri, 16 May 2014 18:31:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 41570 at http://publicradioeast.org Is A Stradivarius Just A Violin? The Mystery Of Tappan Zee: Why Build A Bridge Where The River's Wide? http://publicradioeast.org/post/mystery-tappan-zee-why-build-bridge-where-rivers-wide Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>Now, there's a curious fact about the Tappan Zee Bridge that President Obama was standing next to today. It's located at a spot where it seems to make the least economic sense to place a bridge - one of the widest parts of the Hudson River. Three years ago, David Kestenbaum of our Planet Money team dug into this. Here's an encore presentation of his report.<p>DAVID KESTENBAUM, BYLINE: Todd Ottman was an assistant managing editor for the Encyclopedia of New York State. He remembers when it got time to do the T entries. Wed, 14 May 2014 20:00:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 41385 at http://publicradioeast.org In 4,000 Years, One Thing Hasn't Changed: It Takes Time To Buy Light http://publicradioeast.org/post/4000-years-one-thing-hasnt-changed-it-takes-time-buy-light Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>And now, 4,000 years of economic growth in seven minutes. This story comes, of course, from our Planet Money team. David Kestenbaum and Jacob Goldstein bring us the history of light and how the world came what it is today.<p>DAVID KESTENBAUM, BYLINE: Before you could get light at the flick of a switch, there were other options - none of them very good. Jane Brox wrote a book called "Brilliant: The Evolution Of Artificial Light." In the tropics, she says, people would catch fireflies and make a sort of firefly lantern. Fri, 02 May 2014 20:44:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 40455 at http://publicradioeast.org How One State Convinced Its 'Young Invincibles' To Get Health Insurance http://publicradioeast.org/post/how-one-state-convinced-its-young-invicibles-get-health-insurance Buying insurance doesn't always feel like it makes economic sense, especially for young healthy people. So why are they still willing to pay? <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. Thu, 24 Apr 2014 21:03:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 39773 at http://publicradioeast.org How One State Convinced Its 'Young Invincibles' To Get Health Insurance New Web Addresses Provide Alternatives To Crowded Domains http://publicradioeast.org/post/new-web-addresses-provide-alternatives-crowded-domains Transcript <p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>On a Friday it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.<p>LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST: <p>And I'm Linda Wertheimer. Think of the Internet as a group of islands. There's one island for all the Web addresses with .COM. That one's very crowded. There is the less popular .NET island. Also our personal favorite, .ORG. Well, now the number of islands is expanding dramatically. There's .BIKE and .PLUMBING, .NINJA and more islands to come. Fri, 04 Apr 2014 08:59:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 38068 at http://publicradioeast.org Does Raising The Minimum Wage Kill Jobs? http://publicradioeast.org/post/does-raising-minimum-wage-kill-jobs President Obama has called for increasing the minimum wage, saying it will help some of the poorest Americans. Opponents argue that a higher minimum wage will lead employers to cut jobs.<p>Figuring out the effect of raising the minimum wage is tough. Ideally you'd like to compare one universe where the minimum was raised against an alternate universe where it remained fixed.<p>Economist David Card found the next best thing. In 1992, New Jersey was about to raise its minimum wage. Thu, 06 Mar 2014 22:41:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 35855 at http://publicradioeast.org Does Raising The Minimum Wage Kill Jobs? A Venture Capitalist Is Betting A Pair Of Socks (And $50 Million) On Bitcoin's Future http://publicradioeast.org/post/venture-capitalist-betting-pair-socks-and-50-million-bitcoins-future Ben Horowitz is a big-time venture capitalist. His firm <a href="http://a16z.com/portfolio/" target="_blank">invested in Facebook and Twitter</a>. More recently, his firm <a href="http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/01/21/why-bitcoin-matters/" target="_blank">invested some $50 million</a> in startups related to <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/08/24/138673630/what-is-bitcoin" target="_blank">bitcoin</a>, the virtual currency that works like online cash. Wed, 05 Feb 2014 23:34:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum & Jacob Goldstein 33668 at http://publicradioeast.org A Venture Capitalist Is Betting A Pair Of Socks (And $50 Million) On Bitcoin's Future The Birth Of The Minimum Wage In America http://publicradioeast.org/post/birth-minimum-wage-america In 1895, legislators in New York state decided to improve working conditions in what at the time could be a deadly profession: baking bread.<p>"Bakeries are actually extremely dangerous places to work," says Eric Rauchway, a historian at the University of California, Davis. "Because flour is such a fine particulate, if it gets to hang in the air it can catch fire and the whole room can go up in a sheet of flame."<p>New York passed a law called the Bakeshop Act. It didn't set a minimum wage — the minimum wage didn't exist yet in the U.S. Fri, 17 Jan 2014 08:39:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 32223 at http://publicradioeast.org The Birth Of The Minimum Wage In America A Bet, Five Metals And The Future Of The Planet http://publicradioeast.org/post/1968-bet-centers-around-how-many-people-earth-can-sustain This famous bet — between a biologist and an economist — was over population growth. It started three decades ago, but it helped set the tone for environmental debates that are still happening today.<p>The biologist at the heart of this bet was Paul Ehrlich at Stanford. He wrote a best-selling book in 1968 called <em>The Population Bomb.</em> It was so popular he appeared on <em>The Tonight Show</em> with Johnny Carson.<p>He told Carson, "There are 3.6 billion people in the world today, and we are adding about 70 million a year. And that's too many. Thu, 02 Jan 2014 10:22:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 31108 at http://publicradioeast.org A Bet, Five Metals And The Future Of The Planet The Great Handbell War http://publicradioeast.org/post/great-handbell-war Jake Malta left his job as chief engineer at Schulmerich, the world's biggest handbell company, in 1973.<p>But Malta couldn't stop thinking about bells. He had a vision for a perfect bell — a bell he had never quite achieved at Schulmerich.<p>So he set up shop in his living room. "He had a folding table, two of them, stretched out with all of his drafting supplies and piano behind him," his daughter, Joann, says.<p>He traveled to Europe and studied the physics of bells. He made sketch after sketch. Tue, 24 Dec 2013 16:33:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 30558 at http://publicradioeast.org The Great Handbell War We Found This 20-Year-Old T-Shirt In Kenya. The Internet Found The Original Owner http://publicradioeast.org/post/we-found-20-year-old-t-shirt-kenya-internet-found-original-owner We recently <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/12/10/247362140/the-afterlife-of-american-clothes" target="_blank">published a story</a> about how used clothes that get donated in the U.S. often wind up for sale in markets in Africa. Wed, 11 Dec 2013 19:44:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 29614 at http://publicradioeast.org We Found This 20-Year-Old T-Shirt In Kenya. The Internet Found The Original Owner A Bitcoin Insider On Crime, Congress And Satoshi Nakamoto http://publicradioeast.org/post/bitcoin-insider-crime-congress-and-satoshi-nakamoto <em>For more on what Bitcoin is and how it works, see our story </em>"<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/08/24/138673630/what-is-bitcoin" target="_blank">What Is Bitcoin?</a><em>"</em><p>Gavin Andresen is chief scientist at the <a href="https://bitcoinfoundation.org/" target="_blank">Bitcoin Foundation</a>. I first talked with him about Bitcoin, the virtual currency, <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/08/24/138673630/what-is-bitcoin" target="_blank">back in 2011</a>. Fri, 22 Nov 2013 08:00:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 28283 at http://publicradioeast.org A Bitcoin Insider On Crime, Congress And Satoshi Nakamoto What's A Bubble? http://publicradioeast.org/post/whats-bubble Robert Shiller was surprised when he got the call telling him he'd won the Nobel Memorial Prize in economics — surprised that he'd won (of course), but also surprised that he was sharing the award with Eugene Fama.<p>"He and I seem to have very different views," Shiller told me. "It's like we're different religions."<p>In particular, they have very different views about economic bubbles.<p>"The word 'bubble' drives me nuts, frankly," Fama told me.<p>Fama believes markets are basically rational. At any given moment, he says, prices reflect the collective wisdom of everyone in the market. Fri, 15 Nov 2013 08:06:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 27784 at http://publicradioeast.org What's A Bubble? What Happens When You Just Give Money To Poor People? http://publicradioeast.org/post/what-happens-when-you-just-give-money-poor-people <em>For more of our reporting on this story, please see our work in </em><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/18/magazine/is-it-nuts-to-give-to-the-poor-without-strings-attached.html?_r=0" target="_blank">The New York Times Magazine</a><em> and on </em><a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/503/i-was-just-trying-to-help" target="_blank">This American Life</a><em>.</em><p>A couple of months ago, <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/08/23/214210692/the-charity-that-just-gives-money-to-poor-people" target="_blank">we reported</a> on a charity called GiveDirectl Fri, 25 Oct 2013 07:29:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 26247 at http://publicradioeast.org What Happens When You Just Give Money To Poor People? I Lent $999.78 To The Federal Government* http://publicradioeast.org/post/i-loaned-99978-federal-government Earlier this week, I bought a Treasury bill.<p>Everybody calls Treasury bills T-bills, and they work like this: The government promises to pay holders of T-bills a specific amount on a specific day in the near future. For the T-bill I bought, the government promised to pay $1,000 on Oct. 31.<p>I bought the T-bill on Tuesday, before Congress had made the debt-ceiling deal, so it was unclear whether I would get paid back on time.<p>If people are worried about a bond, the price tends to fall. Fri, 18 Oct 2013 08:03:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 25756 at http://publicradioeast.org I Lent $999.78 To The Federal Government* What A U.S. Default Would Mean For Pensions, China And Social Security http://publicradioeast.org/post/what-us-default-would-mean-pensions-china-and-social-security What would happen if Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling and the U.S. defaults on its debt later this month? The broad economic implications are unpredictable, but a default could cause huge trouble for the global economy.<p>But whatever happens to the global economy, one thing is clear: People all over the world who have loaned the U.S. government money won't get paid on time.<p>And lots and lots of people have loaned the government money. Those people are commonly referred to as owners of Treasury bonds. Thu, 10 Oct 2013 07:00:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 25184 at http://publicradioeast.org What A U.S. Default Would Mean For Pensions, China And Social Security