David Kestenbaum http://kpcw.org en Why A Pack Of Peanut Butter M&M's Weighs A Tiny Bit Less Than A Regular Pack http://kpcw.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 14360 at http://kpcw.org Why A Pack Of Peanut Butter M&M's Weighs A Tiny Bit Less Than A Regular Pack Does Raising The Minimum Wage Kill Jobs? http://kpcw.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 10623 at http://kpcw.org Does Raising The Minimum Wage Kill Jobs? The Birth Of The Minimum Wage In America http://kpcw.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 8793 at http://kpcw.org The Birth Of The Minimum Wage In America A Bitcoin Insider On Crime, Congress And Satoshi Nakamoto http://kpcw.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 6835 at http://kpcw.org A Bitcoin Insider On Crime, Congress And Satoshi Nakamoto What's A Bubble? http://kpcw.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 6578 at http://kpcw.org What's A Bubble? What Happens When You Just Give Money To Poor People? http://kpcw.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 5774 at http://kpcw.org What Happens When You Just Give Money To Poor People? I Lent $999.78 To The Federal Government* http://kpcw.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 07:26:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 5509 at http://kpcw.org I Lent $999.78 To The Federal Government* What A U.S. Default Would Mean For Pensions, China And Social Security http://kpcw.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 5198 at http://kpcw.org What A U.S. Default Would Mean For Pensions, China And Social Security An Aerogramme From Professor Higgs, Nobel Winner http://kpcw.org/post/aerogramme-professor-higgs-nobel-winner Well, it's happened. Tue, 08 Oct 2013 18:42:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 5113 at http://kpcw.org An Aerogramme From Professor Higgs, Nobel Winner One Key Thing No One Knows About Obamacare http://kpcw.org/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 4756 at http://kpcw.org One Key Thing No One Knows About Obamacare