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.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Last year, Shawn Hector bought some baby chicks. He put them outside in a little chicken coop, but it did not go well. The chicks were eaten by hawks, foxes and raccoons.

Shawn decided the world needed a better chicken coop. He and a buddy, Steve Deutsch, should build it themselves. They figured there might be a market for a high-tech chicken coop, and dreamed of starting a little business.

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Every year, the U.S. government loses money minting pennies. They cost around twice as much to make as they're worth. And some politicians and economists say we ought to just get rid of them. They want the U.S. to kill the penny, take it out of circulation. If that happens, a small group of people plan to make a bunch of money.

NPR's Zoe Chace has that story from our Planet Money team.

Any time a song is popular, you'll find people debating it. And at some point during that debate, someone is going to Google the lyrics.

There are roughly 5 million searches for lyrics per day on Google, according to LyricFind. Those searches often lead to websites that post lyrics to lots of songs — and, in many cases, sites that post ads alongside those lyrics.

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Ladies' Home Journal, the magazine that was once so popular with housewives and homemakers, is ending its 130-year run as a monthly magazine. The print magazine business has of course changed dramatically in the last few decades.

And Ladies' Home Journal saw its own advertising revenues drop by more than 50 percent over the last 10 years. But this story isn't just about business as you might expect. NPR's Zoe Chace explains women have changed too.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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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.

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.

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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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.

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.

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.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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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.

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.

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.

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: