Zoe Chace

Zoe Chace explains the mysteries of the global economy for NPR's Planet Money. As a reporter for the team, Chace knows how to find compelling stories in unlikely places, including a lollipop factory in Ohio struggling to stay open, a pasta plant in Italy where everyone calls in sick, and a recording studio in New York mixing Rihanna's next hit.

In 2008, Chace came to NPR to work as an intern on Weekend Edition Saturday. As a production assistant on NPR's Arts Desk, she developed a beat covering popular music and co-created Pop Off, a regular feature about hit songs for Morning Edition. Chace shocked the music industry when she convinced the famously reclusive Lauryn Hill to sit down for an interview.

Chace got her economic training on the job. She reported for NPR's Business Desk, then began to contribute to Planet Money in 2011. Since then Chace has also pitched in to cover breaking news for the network. She reported live from New York during Hurricane Sandy and from Colorado during the 2012 Presidential election.

There is much speculation on the Internet about where Chace picked up her particular accent. She explains that it's a proprietary blend: a New England family, a Manhattan childhood, college at Oberlin in Ohio, and a first job as a teacher in a Philadelphia high school.

The radio training comes from the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, and collaboration with NPR's best editors, producers and reporters.

Planet Money
5:27 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Across The Atlantic, Glimpse An Alternate Internet Universe

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 9:53 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Already for many Americans, there are few options when it comes to high-speed broadband. And the reason, says Zoe Chace with our Planet Money team, goes back to a moment when the U.S. decided to go one way and the rest of the world went another.

ZOE CHACE, BYLINE: That moment, March 14th, 2002, a bunch of people from the Federal Communications Commission pondering an existential question. There's this brand-new cable coming into your home with the Internet on it. What is this thing?

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Business
5:11 am
Thu March 27, 2014

When Everyone Wants To Watch 'House Of Cards,' Who Pays?

Melinda Sue Gordon Netflix

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 12:18 pm

We are going to trace one simple Internet request. It's one that lots of people have made lately.

Rachel Margolis, a Time Warner cable subscriber in Brooklyn, wants to watch an episode of House of Cards on Netflix.

When Rachel clicks on House of Cards on her TV screen, her request travels out of her apartment on a cable, to a box on the corner, then under the East River to a giant building on the West Side of Manhattan. Think of the Empire State Building, turned on its side.

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Europe
4:09 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Behind Ukraine's Political Strife: One Big Utility Bill

Cossacks stand guard at the entrance to the Crimean Parliament building on Friday in Simferopol, Ukraine. Russian Cossacks, some heavily armed, have taken up guard duties at road checkpoints, border crossings and other key facilities that were previously guarded by local, pro-Russian militants across Crimea in recent days.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 7:29 pm

One way to understand the situation between Ukraine and Russia right now: Look at the gas bill of an ordinary Ukrainian.

Valentina Olachenka, for example, pays $19 a month for gas to heat her house and run her stove. The average American who uses natural gas, by contrast, spends more than $100 a month.

Gas is cheap for Ukrainians because the government is paying most of the bill — 87 cents of every dollar, according to the IMF.

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Planet Money
3:28 am
Fri February 28, 2014

An Old Law, A Snowy Winter, And A Modern-Day Salt Shortage

Jay Field MPBN Radio

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 11:38 am

There were so many winter storms in New Jersey this year that the state nearly ran out of the salt used to melt snow and ice on the roads.

State officials thought they had found a solution when they discovered an extra 40,000 tons of rock salt for sale up in Searsport, Maine.

The state bought the salt but ran into problems getting it to New Jersey — despite the fact that there was an enormous, empty cargo ship, sitting at the Searsport port, headed down to Newark.

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Planet Money
3:43 am
Thu February 20, 2014

What It Was Like To Be A Wall Street Recruit After The Bailouts

John Angelillo UPI/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 10:05 am

Back in 2012, reporter Kevin Roose went undercover at a very exclusive party.

It was a dinner for a secret society, held once a year, at the St. Regis hotel in New York City. The secret society is called Kappa Beta Phi, and it's made up of current and former Wall Street executives — people like Michael Bloomberg, former heads of Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs. And every year the group holds a dinner to induct new people into the group — they're called neophytes.

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Planet Money
5:30 am
Tue January 28, 2014

White House Reminds Firms Not To Overlook Long-Term Jobless

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 8:20 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Here's another item likely to be part of tonight's State of the Union address: helping the long term unemployed. The president is expected to announce that some of America's firms have signed a pledge not to discriminate against the long term unemployed when they're hiring. This week, the president plans to meet with many of the CEOs of those companies. NPR's Zoe Chace from our Planet Money team reports on the surprising experiment that, in part, lead to this meeting.

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Planet Money
5:11 am
Thu January 16, 2014

How Perverse Incentives Drive Up Health Care Costs

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 3:07 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Emergency medical technicians, EMTs, are trained to save your life and aim to get you to a hospital as quickly as possible when needed. One thing they are usually not asked to do is to find ways to save money.

NPR's Zoe Chace explores one experiment in New York City that is trying to cut emergency care costs and cut return trips to the E.R.

ZOE CHACE, BYLINE: I'm in an ambulance, and we're on the way to the emergency room.

PETER DERMODY: How long have you been feeling like this, Michael?

MICHAEL: Like, two days.

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Planet Money
5:09 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

How A Community Bank Tripped On Footnote 1,861 Of The Volcker Rule

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:05 pm

When people talk about the Volcker Rule, they often mention JPMorgan Chase, the giant bank where a trader recently made a bad bet that lost $6 billion. The Volcker Rule is supposed to put an end to that sort of thing, by prohibiting banks from trading with their own money.

But some banks that are very, very different from JPMorgan Chase are struggling with an obscure provision in the rule. Specifically, footnote 1,861, which bars banks from investing in something called trust-preferred securities — a rather obscure investment favored by lots of small, community banks invest

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Around the Nation
4:26 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Cities Across Northeast, Midwest Dig Out From Winter Storm

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 8:43 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

After pummeling the Midwest, a big winter storm hit the Northeast today, dumping snow up and down I-95. Flights were canceled, major highways closed. Boston took on almost two feet. Up to 10 inches fell on New York City, where the new mayor has only been in office two days. And that's where our coverage begins this hour with NPR's Zoe Chace.

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Business
4:50 am
Thu December 26, 2013

The Secret Protectionism Buried Inside NAFTA

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 7:49 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now NPR's Zoe Chase, from our Planet Money Team, reminds us about one industry that played a big role in NAFTA's passage: men's underwear.

ZOE CHACE, BYLINE: Now you're used to the labels: made in Mexico, made in China, made in Bangladesh. But back in the '80s, when they were first talking about NAFTA, about half of American clothing was made in America, by people like this.

BERTHA MARR: Graduated from the eighth grade, then went straight on in to working at Fruit of the Loom.

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Business
5:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Next Stop Bangladesh As We Follow Planet Money's T-Shirt

Workers sew together the Planet Money t-shirt in Chittagong, Bangladesh.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 4:31 pm

Bangladesh is the cheapest place in the world to make a T-shirt. But this month, the minimum wage there will rise from $39 a month to $68 a month. That's got some factory owners nervous about whether Western retailers there will pull out. Our Planet Money team examines the future of the garment industry in Bangladesh.

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Planet Money
4:06 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Two Sisters, A Small Room And The World Behind A T-Shirt

Minu (left) and her younger sister Shumi worked on the Planet Money men's T-shirt.
Kainaz Amaria/NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:39 pm

Part of the Planet Money T-shirt Project

This is the story of how the garment industry is transforming life in Bangladesh, and the story of two sisters who made the Planet Money T-shirt.

Shumi and Minu work six days a week operating sewing machines at Deluxe Fashions Ltd. in Chittagong, Bangladesh. They each make about $80 a month.

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Planet Money
3:57 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Nixon And Kimchi: How The Garment Industry Came To Bangladesh

There are more than 4,000 garment factories in Bangladesh. One way or another, most of them trace their lineage to Abdul Majid Chowdhury, Noorul Quader and the 128 Bangladeshis who traveled to Korea 30 years ago.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 10:35 am

More details were added to this post after it was published. The new information was courtesy of Vidiya Khan, director of the Desh Group, and daughter of Noorul Quader.

Bangladesh was created out of chaos in the early 1970s, at a moment when millions in the country were dying from a combination of war and famine. The future looked exceedingly bleak.

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Planet Money
2:02 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

How Garment Workers Decided $104.72 a Month Was A Living Wage

Quoctrung Bui / NPR

Monday, after a week of protests, Bangladesh's garment manufacturers agreed to increase the minimum wage for workers in the industry. But they haven't agreed on how much it will be.

The garment workers are asking for $104.72 a month, which would more than double the current minimum. To get to that number, they created a monthly budget that, they figure, is the bare minimum.

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Planet Money
1:11 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Robin Thicke's Song Sounds Like Marvin Gaye. So He's Suing Gaye's Family.

This is Robin Thicke.
.

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 3:59 pm

"Blurred Lines," this year's song of the summer*, sounds a lot like Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give It Up," one of the songs of the summer of 1977.

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Business
5:21 am
Wed August 14, 2013

Heard It Through The Grapevine: Raisin Grower Goes Rogue

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 6:26 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now, the story of a man many call an outlaw. His crime: growing raisins and then deciding to sell them all. His case made it all the way to the Supreme Court.

Planet Money's Zoe Chace has the story.

ZOE CHACE, BYLINE: You might imagine that such an ordinary thing like a raisin works the same way lots of other stuff works. The raisin grower takes his sun-dried grapes and sells them, as many as he can to whoever wants them. That's not what happens.

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Planet Money
2:42 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

The Raisin Outlaw Of Kerman, Calif.

Raisin farmer Marvin Horne stands in a field of grapevines planted next to his home.
Gary Kazanjian AP

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 9:39 pm

Meet Marvin Horne, raisin farmer. Horne has been farming raisins on a vineyard in Kerman, Calif., for decades. But a couple of years ago, he did something that made a lot of the other raisin farmers out here in California really angry. So angry that they hired a private investigator to spy on Horne and his wife, Laura. Agents from a detective agency spent hours sitting outside the Hornes' farm recording video of trucks entering and leaving the property.

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Planet Money
12:49 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Stamps, Jeans, Beer: What Americans Want From North Korea

Can I buy a pair of jeans made in North Korea?
Office of Foreign Assets Control

Originally published on Mon July 29, 2013 12:01 pm

U.S. sanctions mean that any citizen or business wanting to buy stuff from North Korea has to send a letter to the U.S. government asking for special permission. A few months back, we submitted a Freedom of Information Act request, asking for those letters.

Our request was granted: We recently received a packet of 18 letters from Americans who wanted to do business with the most isolated nation on the planet. We've posted all of the letters online.

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Planet Money
4:52 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

The 'Ask Your Uncle' Approach To Economics

The Federal Reserve, home of the Beige Book.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 7:11 pm

The Beige Book is weird. It's an economic report released by the Federal Reserve every few months, but it doesn't have many numbers in it. Mostly, it's a bunch of stories gathered by talking to businesses around the country. A Fed economist once described it as the "Ask Your Uncle" approach to figuring out what's going on in the economy.

In the Beige Book released today, for example, we learned that:

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