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Wanna see a trick? Give us any topic and we can tie it back to the economy. At Planet Money, we explore the forces that shape our lives and bring you along for the ride. Don't just understand the economy – understand the world.

Wanna go deeper? Subscribe to Planet Money+ and get sponsor-free episodes of Planet Money, The Indicator, and Planet Money Summer School. Plus access to bonus content. It's a new way to support the show you love. Learn more at plus.npr.org/planetmoney

Most Recent Episodes

Shopping for parental benefits around the world

It is so expensive to have a kid in the United States. The U.S. is one of just a handful of countries worldwide with no federal paid parental leave; it offers functionally no public childcare (and private childcare is wildly expensive); and women can expect their pay to take a hit after becoming a parent. (Incidentally, men's wages tend to rise after becoming fathers.)

Shopping for parental benefits around the world

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LEFT: Maria Lares is a longtime teacher and PTA Treasurer at Villacorta Elementary in La Puente, CA. RIGHT: Sophia Fabela (left) and Samantha Nicole Tan (right) are two students at Villacorta who consider themselves pretty good sales kids. Sarah Gonzalez/NPR hide caption

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Sarah Gonzalez/NPR

The secret world behind school fundraisers and turning kids into salespeople

Fundraising is a staple of the school experience in the U.S. There's an assembly showing off all the prizes kids can win by selling enough wrapping paper or chocolate to their neighbors. But it's pretty weird, right?

The secret world behind school fundraisers and turning kids into salespeople

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A controversial idea at the heart of Bidenomics

Réka Juhász is a professor of economics at the University of British Columbia, and she studies what's known as industrial policy.

A controversial idea at the heart of Bidenomics

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JASPER JACOBS/BELGA MAG/AFP/Getty Images

Two Indicators: Economics of the defense industry

The Department of Defense's proposed budget for 2024 is $842 billion. That is about 3.5% of the U.S.'s GDP. The military buys everything from pens and paper clips to fighter jets and submarines. But the market for military equipment is very different from the commercial market.

Two Indicators: Economics of the defense industry

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The cargo ship Genco Picardy was hit by a low-grade missile in the Gulf of Aden in January. In recent months, the Houthis, a tribal militant group from Yemen, have launched attacks on ships in response, they say, to Israel's war in Gaza. Indian Navy/AP hide caption

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Indian Navy/AP

How the Navy came to protect cargo ships

The Genco Picardy is not an American ship. It doesn't pay U.S. taxes, none of its crew are U.S. nationals, and when it sailed through the Red Sea last month, it wasn't carrying cargo to or from an American port.

How the Navy came to protect cargo ships

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Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi/NPR

It's giving ... Valentines

L, is for the way you Listen to Planet Money

It's giving ... Valentines

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As states began outlawing heart balm lawsuits, newspaper articles in the 1930's chronicled the strong feelings and uproar over Heart Balm lawsuits. The Honolulu Advertiser (Honolulu, Hawaii), Sunday, Apr 14, 1935/Smithsonian Magazine hide caption

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The Honolulu Advertiser (Honolulu, Hawaii), Sunday, Apr 14, 1935/Smithsonian Magazine

A lawsuit for your broken heart

Keith King was upset when his marriage ended. His wife had cheated, and his family broke apart. And that's when he learned about a very old type of lawsuit, called a heart balm tort. A lawsuit that would let him sue the man his now ex-wife had gotten involved with during their marriage.

A lawsuit for your broken heart

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Morally questionable, economically efficient

There are tons of markets that don't exist because people just don't want to allow a market – for whatever reason, people feel icky about putting a price on something. For example: Surrogacy is a legal industry in parts of the United States, but not in much of the rest of the world. Assisted end-of-life is a legal medical transaction in some states, but is illegal in others.

Morally questionable, economically efficient

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Groundhog Day 2024: Trademark, bankruptcy, and the dollar that failed

It's Groundhog Day, and the eyes of the nation have turned to a small town in western Pennsylvania. And, just like last year, all anyone can talk about is Punxsutawney Phil! It is impossible to find a news story that is not about one furry prognosticator.

Groundhog Day 2024: Trademark, bankruptcy, and the dollar that failed

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The Chicken Tax (Classic)

Note: This episode originally ran in 2015.

The Chicken Tax (Classic)

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