David Kestenbaum http://publicradiodelmarva.net en New Web Addresses Provide Alternatives To Crowded Domains http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 51988 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Does Raising The Minimum Wage Kill Jobs? http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 50383 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Does Raising The Minimum Wage Kill Jobs? The Birth Of The Minimum Wage In America http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 47812 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net The Birth Of The Minimum Wage In America A Bet, Five Metals And The Future Of The Planet http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 47049 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net A Bet, Five Metals And The Future Of The Planet We Found This 20-Year-Old T-Shirt In Kenya. The Internet Found The Original Owner http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 46092 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net We Found This 20-Year-Old T-Shirt In Kenya. The Internet Found The Original Owner Meet The Humble Container That Moves The Global Economy http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/meet-humble-container-moves-global-economy NPR's Planet Money team is manufacturing its own T-shirt. After the women's shirt was assembled in Colombia, they voyaged by container ship to Miami. The container, a big standardized box that moves easily from truck to ship to train, is the unsung hero of the global economy. It was invented in the 1950s and dramatically reduced shipping costs, ushering in a new era vastly different than the world retired stevedores remember. Fri, 06 Dec 2013 00:47:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 45805 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Meet The Humble Container That Moves The Global Economy A Bitcoin Insider On Crime, Congress And Satoshi Nakamoto http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 45101 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net A Bitcoin Insider On Crime, Congress And Satoshi Nakamoto What's A Bubble? http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 44719 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net What's A Bubble? What Happens When You Just Give Money To Poor People? http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 43526 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net What Happens When You Just Give Money To Poor People? I Lent $999.78 To The Federal Government* http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 07:26:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 43117 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net I Lent $999.78 To The Federal Government* What A U.S. Default Would Mean For Pensions, China And Social Security http://publicradiodelmarva.net/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 42672 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net What A U.S. Default Would Mean For Pensions, China And Social Security One Key Thing No One Knows About Obamacare http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/one-key-thing-no-one-knows-about-obamacare Tuesday is a big day for Obamacare. The online marketplaces where people can shop for health insurance are supposed to open for business.<p>No one really knows who is going to sign up — not the Obama administration, not the insurance industry, not the president's critics. Yet the success of the law hangs on this question: Will the right mix of people sign up? In particular, will healthy people buy health insurance?<p>"The danger if you don't get young, healthy people signing up ... Mon, 30 Sep 2013 07:36:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 42047 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net One Key Thing No One Knows About Obamacare Ecuador To World: Pay Up To Save The Rainforest. World To Ecuador: Meh. http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/ecuador-world-pay-save-rainforest-world-ecuador-meh The government of Ecuador has abandoned a plan that would have kept part of the Amazonian rainforest off limits to oil drilling. The initiative was an unusual one: Ecuador was promising to keep the oil in the ground, but it wanted to be paid for doing so.<p>The oil sits under the Yasuni national park, one of the most biodiverse places on Earth — orchids, jaguars, monkeys, birds. To get to the corner of the park that holds the oil, you have to take a plane, then a motorboat, then paddle a canoe. Mon, 02 Sep 2013 07:21:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 40421 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Ecuador To World: Pay Up To Save The Rainforest. World To Ecuador: Meh. Cash, Cows And The Rise Of Nerd Philanthropy http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/cash-cows-and-rise-nerd-philanthropy <em>For more of our reporting on this story, please see our recent column in the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/18/magazine/is-it-nuts-to-give-to-the-poor-without-strings-attached.html" target="_blank">New York Times Magazine</a>, and the <a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/503/i-was-just-trying-to-help" target="_blank">latest episode of This American Life</a>.</em><p>This morning, <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 GiveDirectly th Fri, 23 Aug 2013 21:01:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 39953 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Cash, Cows And The Rise Of Nerd Philanthropy The Charity That Just Gives Money To Poor People http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/charity-just-gives-money-poor-people <em>For more of our reporting on this story, please see our <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/18/magazine/is-it-nuts-to-give-to-the-poor-without-strings-attached.html" target="_blank">recent column in the New York Times Magazine</a>, and the <a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/503/i-was-just-trying-to-help" target="_blank">latest episode of This American Life</a>.</em><p>There's a charity called GiveDirectly that just gives money to poor people in Kenya. No strings attached. Fri, 23 Aug 2013 07:24:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 39895 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net The Charity That Just Gives Money To Poor People Better Accounting Will Boost U.S. GDP http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/better-accounting-will-boost-us-gdp Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>The size of the U.S. economy will be getting a bump tomorrow. That's when the latest gross domestic product statistics come out. The number will be larger, not because our exports have improved or because of new jobs, it's because of an accounting change. David Kestenbaum with our Planet Money Team explains.<p>DAVID KESTENBAUM, BYLINE: An economy is a tricky thing to measure. You got millions of people buying hamburgers and coffee and cars and socks, then there's all the stuff you can't touch, like haircuts. Tue, 30 Jul 2013 20:33:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 38585 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Why Doesn't Everybody Buy Cheap, Generic Headache Medicine? http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/why-doesnt-everybody-buy-cheap-generic-headache-medicine Why does anyone buy Bayer aspirin — or Tylenol, or Advil — when, almost always, there's a bottle of cheaper generic pills, with the same active ingredient, sitting right next to the brand-name pills?<p>Matthew Gentzkow, an economist at the University of Chicago's Booth school, recently tried to answer this question. Along with a few colleagues, Gentzkow set out to test a hypothesis: Maybe people buy the brand-name pills because they just don't know that the generic version is basically the same thing.<p>"We came up with what is probably the simplest idea you've ever heard of," Gentzkow says. Fri, 05 Jul 2013 02:03:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 37145 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Why Doesn't Everybody Buy Cheap, Generic Headache Medicine? Economists Have A One-Page Solution To Climate Change http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/economists-have-one-page-solution-climate-change Climate change seems like this complicated problem with a million pieces. But Henry Jacoby, an economist at MIT's business school, says there's really just one thing you need to do to solve the problem: Tax carbon emissions.<p>"If you let the economists write the legislation," Jacoby says, "it could be quite simple." He says he could fit the whole bill on one page.<p>Basically, Jacoby would tax fossil fuels in proportion to the amount of carbon they release. That would make coal, oil and natural gas more expensive. Fri, 28 Jun 2013 08:33:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 36801 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Economists Have A One-Page Solution To Climate Change A Surprising Barrier To Clean Water: Human Nature http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/surprising-barrier-clean-water-human-nature In many parts of the developing world, drinking a glass of water can be deadly — especially for young children, who can die of diarrheal diseases contracted from dirty water.<p>So getting clean water to people in the developing world has been a top priority for aid groups for a long time. But it's been a surprisingly hard problem to solve.<p>For a while, aid workers largely treated clean water as an engineering problem: If there's no clean water in a village, dig a well. Thu, 20 Jun 2013 07:03:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 36369 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net A Surprising Barrier To Clean Water: Human Nature Who Hides Money Outside The Country? http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/who-hides-money-outside-country Over the past decade, some 39,000 people have come forward voluntarily to tell the IRS about offshore money they haven't been paying taxes on. This group provides a small window into the world of people who are hiding money in offshore havens. (It's a world we've been trying to learn more about, partly by <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/07/27/157499893/episode-390-we-set-up-an-offshore-company-in-a-tax-haven" target="_blank">setting up an offshore company in Belize</a>.)<p>The names of the 39,000 aren't published anywhere, and they're not eager to be interviewed. Tue, 14 May 2013 19:34:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 34158 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Who Hides Money Outside The Country? Lady Gaga Writing A New Song Is Like A Factory Investing In A New Machine http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/lady-gaga-writing-new-song-factory-investing-new-machine I spoke yesterday with Dan Sichel, a Wellesley economist and a Lady Gaga fan. Both of these facts are relevant for this story.<p>The U.S. government is about to tweak the way it measures the economy, and some of the biggest changes will affect the entertainment industry.<p>Under the current system, Sichel told me, Lady Gaga's sales of concert tickets, online songs and CDs all count toward gross domestic product. But the value of the time she spends in the studio working on new songs isn't counted. Thu, 25 Apr 2013 07:30:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 33040 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Lady Gaga Writing A New Song Is Like A Factory Investing In A New Machine When A Famous Hospital Didn't Want An Expensive New Drug http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/when-famous-hospital-didnt-want-expensive-new-drug Last year, a new drug called Zaltrap was approved as a kind of last-chance therapy for patients with colorectal cancer. Studies suggested Zaltrap worked almost exactly as well as an existing drug called Avastin. In fact, the main difference between the two drugs seemed to be the price.<p>"I was rather stunned," Dr. Thu, 28 Mar 2013 07:41:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 31496 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net When A Famous Hospital Didn't Want An Expensive New Drug Three Ways To Totally Transform U.S. Immigration Policy http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/three-ways-totally-transform-us-immigration-policy With immigration policy in the news again, I asked three economists, "Dream big: If you could create any immigration policy for the U.S., what would it be?" Here's what they said.<p><strong>1. The Best And The Brightest</strong><p>Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research would give out more visas to highly skilled workers: scientists, engineers, computer programmers and doctors.<p>In this universe, with fewer low-skill immigrants, low-skilled labor would be more expensive. So, food would cost a bit more. Child care might, too. There could be fewer restaurants. Thu, 21 Feb 2013 08:05:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 29504 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Three Ways To Totally Transform U.S. Immigration Policy 'Give Me The Money Or I'll Shoot The Trees' http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/give-me-money-or-ill-shoot-trees Ecuador's Yasuni National Park is one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. But there's a complication: The park sits on top of the equivalent of millions of barrels of oil.<p>This creates a dilemma.<p>Ecuador prides itself on being pro-environment. Its constitution gives nature special rights. Thu, 07 Feb 2013 08:34:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 28750 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net 'Give Me The Money Or I'll Shoot The Trees' An International Battle Over One Of The Most Boring Things In Finance http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/international-battle-over-one-most-boring-things-finance This week saw the end of a years-long, international, multi-billion-dollar battle over one of the most boring things in finance: savings accounts.<p>At the center of the battle was Iceland, a tiny country where the banks grew into international behemoths during the credit bubble.<p>The banks got so big partly by convincing foreigners to open up online savings accounts. In particular, lots of people in England and Netherlands opened up "ICESAVE accounts" with a bank called Landsbanki. Fri, 01 Feb 2013 08:38:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 28408 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net An International Battle Over One Of The Most Boring Things In Finance Why Is The Government In The Flood Insurance Business? http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/why-government-flood-insurance-business There's a quick, one-word explanation for why the federal government started selling flood insurance: Betsy.<p>Hurricane Betsy, which struck the Gulf Coast in 1965, became known as billion-dollar Betsy. Homes were ruined. Water up to the roofs. People paddling around streets in boats. Massive damage.<p>This would be the time when you'd expect people to be pulling out their flood insurance policies. But flood insurance was hard to come by. You could get fire insurance, theft insurance, car insurance, life insurance. Thu, 24 Jan 2013 08:34:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 27963 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Why Is The Government In The Flood Insurance Business? The North Dakota Town Where A One-Bedroom Apartment Rents For $2,100 A Month http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/north-dakota-town-where-one-bedroom-apartment-rents-2100-month A plain, one-bedroom apartment in Williston, N.D., rents for $2,100 a month. For this price, you could rent a one-bedroom apartment in New York City.<p>Williston is not New York City. There are 30,000 residents and one department store. The nearest city is two hours away.<p>Rents are so high in Williston because the town is in the middle of an oil boom. Unemployment is below 1 percent, and workers are flooding into town.<p>But the workers, by and large, don't want to stay in Williston. Thu, 10 Jan 2013 08:27:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 27250 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net The North Dakota Town Where A One-Bedroom Apartment Rents For $2,100 A Month What A Former FBI Hostage Negotiator Can Teach Us About The Fiscal Cliff http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/what-former-fbi-hostage-negotiator-can-teach-us-about-fiscal-cliff The tortuous negotiations involved in the "fiscal cliff" talks are like a chess game.<p>To shed some light on the kinds of negotiation techniques that members of Congress might be using during the talks, we asked two negotiators to walk us through their tactics with examples from their everyday lives.<p><a href="http://www4.gsb.columbia.edu/cbs-directory/detail/7516245/Adam+Galinsky">Adam Galinsky</a> teaches negotiation at Columbia University's business school. He was recently at an airport in North Carolina, waiting to fly home. Fri, 28 Dec 2012 17:28:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 26694 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net What A Former FBI Hostage Negotiator Can Teach Us About The Fiscal Cliff Why A Principal Created His Own Currency http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/how-middle-school-principal-convinced-students-come-school Shawn Rux took over as principal of MS 53, a New York City middle school, last year. At the time, 50 or 60 kids were absent every day. You could understand why they stayed away: The school was chaos.<p>Twenty-two teachers had quit, the entire office staff had quit, and hundreds of kids had been suspended. The school was given a grade of F from the city's department of education.<p>"It was in a bad place," Rux says.<p>Rux decided he needed to create incentives for kids to come to school. Fri, 14 Dec 2012 08:24:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 26071 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Why A Principal Created His Own Currency Why Mexico Is The World's Biggest Exporter Of Flat-Screen TVs http://publicradiodelmarva.net/post/why-mexico-worlds-biggest-exporter-flat-screen-tvs Most of the news we hear about Mexico these days is about drug-related violence. But it turns out there's another, brighter story there: The country's economy has been growing at a solid pace for the past couple years, driven in large part by solid exports.<p>Among other things, Mexico is the world's largest exporter of flat-screen TVs. There are a lot of factories just south of the U.S. border, filled with workers putting together televisions. Fri, 30 Nov 2012 10:04:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 25387 at http://publicradiodelmarva.net Why Mexico Is The World's Biggest Exporter Of Flat-Screen TVs