Rank #1: What Boy Band Sensation BTS Can Teach Us About Economics
South Korean boy band BTS is rarely connected to economics, but as the biggest success to come out of K-Pop, it arguably should be. On this week's episode of Odd Lots, we speak to Euny Hong, the author of 'The Birth of Korean Cool,' about how South Korea made cultural exports a key plank in its economic development strategy.
Jun 10 2019
Rank #2: Why President Trump's Move Against Huawei Is Such A Big Deal
Earlier this month, President Trump escalated the trade tensions against China by limiting exports of U.S. technology to Huawei. But what is Huawei, and why is this such a big deal? On this week's episode, we speak to Dan Wang, a technology analyst at Gavekal Dragonomics, about the importance of Huawei to the Chinese tech industry, the specifics of what Trump just did, and the far-reaching fallout that we could see from this new phase of the trade war.
Jun 03 2019
Rank #3: 52: What Math Models of Herding Cows Can Teach Us About Markets
Investors are often said to exhibit herding behavior when they follow each other into crowded positions — creating market bubbles that are susceptible to sudden pops when everyone begins stampeding for the exit. This week we take the analogy literally and speak to three professors who have created a mathematical model to examine why cows synchronize their behavior and — crucially — why they stop. Jie Sun, Erik Bollt, and Mason Porter, the authors of "A Mathematical Model for the Dynamics and Synchronization of Cows," extrapolate their findings to humans and modern markets. This episode is co-hosted by our resident bovine expert, Lorcan Roche-Kelly.
Oct 28 2016
Rank #4: How Poker Explains the Battle of Passive and Active Investing
Among the biggest trends in the world of markets is the rise of passive investing. Rather than pay high fees to active mutual fund managers (who often fail to beat the market), people are pouring money into passive strategies that track major indices, but with little cost. So what are the ramifications of this trend for investors who choose to remain active? On this week's Odd Lots podcast, we speak with Michael Mauboussin, who heads global financial strategies at Credit Suisse and is not just an expert on the world of investing, but also on the role of luck in success. As he sees it, trading is like a game of poker, and in poker you want to play against weaker, less-skilled players. But as more and more of those less-skilled players opt not to trade (choosing passive strategies) then the game gets harder.
Feb 17 2017
Rank #5: The Millennial Generation Is Stagnant And Older People Are Part
In developed economies, younger generations have faced stagnant wages, mediocre employment prospects and dizzying costs of homeownership. One culprit: The generations that came before. Policies that helped older generations recieve strong pensions and affordable housing have made life more difficult for the young. In this week's Odd Lots podcast we talked to Laura Gardiner of the Resolution Foundation about her new report on "renewing the generational contract" between generations.
Aug 22 2016
Rank #6: The World's Foremost Expert Explains How To Value Stock
In this age of algorithms and quants, you hear less and less about good old stock picking. You know, like the style of investing associated with Warren Buffet or Benjamin Graham. But that doesn't mean you can't still dive into a balance sheet or cash flow statement in order to divine a stock's true worth. On this week's Odd Lots we speak to Aswath Damodaran, a professor at NYU's Stern School of Business, and the foremost expert on stock valuation. He explains his general approach to valuing stocks, and how he might use that framework on companies like GE, Tesla, and Uber.
Nov 20 2017
Rank #7: 62: How The Biggest Bull Market Could Come Crashing Down
The stock market is currently in one of its longest bull markets ever, but that doesn't hold a candle to what's going on bonds. According to Paul Schmelzing, a PhD candidate at Harvard and a visiting researcher at the Bank of England, you have to go back more than 500 years (!) to find a bull market in bonds longer than than the one we're experiencing now. After bonds tumbled since last summer (especially since the election) there's a lot of interest in whether we're on the cusp of a major downturn. In this week's Odd Lots, Schmelzing walks us through the history of bull and bear markets in bonds and explains why we could see some gigantic losses ahead.
Jan 13 2017
Rank #8: This Is What All Great Stock Market Bubbles And Crashes Have in Common
Markets are at their most exciting when they're in a bubble. Spectacular fortunes can be made and lost in the blink of an eye. So how do bubbles form and end? On this week's episode of the Odd Lots podcast we talk to Scott Nations, the president and chief investment officer of NationsShares, and the author of "A History of The United States in Five Crashes." We discuss with him various stock market crashes and bubbles in U.S history, and what they all have in common.
Aug 28 2017
Rank #9: Why The Entire Way We Talk About Millennials Is Wrong
When it comes to millennials, the media has certain tropes that it likes to go back to. Millennials love avocados. Millennials aren't into homebuying. Millennials are always killing off this or that product or service. But what if the consumption lens is the totally wrong way to talk about this generation? On this week's Odd Lots podcast, we speak to Malcolm Harris, the author of "Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials," about what he says is a more useful frame for understanding the economic stresses millennials face.
Apr 23 2018
Rank #10: How Does The Chinese Economy Work?
Matt Boesler, an economics reporter for Bloomberg, had the opportunity to report from Beijing for a few months in 2018. He shares with us his experience there, and what he learned from the opportunity.
Jan 28 2019
Rank #11: How a Fund Manager Teaches His Kids About Money and Banking
Plenty of people pay their kids an allowance to teach them the value of hard work and earning money. But our guest on this week’s Odd Lots podcast takes it to the next level. Toby Nangle is a fund manager at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, who also happens to be fascinated with the question of how money and banking really work. So rather than just give his kids a typical allowance, he uses their spending money to run monetary experiments. How do children react to higher rates on savings? How do they react to negative interest rates? What are the ramifications of his policies on his own internal household wealth inequality. In this episode, Nangle talks about what he and his kids have learned in the process.
Mar 27 2017
Rank #12: 51: Why Everyone Is Freaking Out About Globalization
Dani Rodrik, a professor of International Political Economy at Harvard University, was writing about the downside of globalization before it was cool. The rise of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, the U.K.'s decision to leave the European Union and the expansion of nationalist political parties around the world has since given fresh impetus to the notion that globalization isn't working for everyone. In this episode we discuss how we ended up with 'hyperglobalization,' what the technocrats got wrong, and what exactly can be done to fix it.
Oct 21 2016
Rank #13: 41: Billionaires Help Tell the Story of Brazil's Boom and Bust
The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro have been tainted by protests, economic slowdown, and a massive political scandal. In this episode we take a look at Brazil's boom and bust as told through the prism of the country's elite. Alex Cuadros is the author of "Brazillionaires: Wealth, Power, Decadence, and Hope in an American Country." He tells how a commodities boom gave rise to larger-than-life Brazilian billionaires including mining mogul Eike Batista, soybean farmer-turned-senator Blairo Maggi, and beer-and-burger-king Jorge Paulo Lemann. He tells us why 'Brazillionaires' sometimes argue over their place on public wealth rankings, what happened when Batista's Porsche went missing, and how Brazil's billionaires favor dead bugs in their decorating.
Aug 15 2016
Rank #14: How the Biggest Bull Market Could Go on for a Whole Lot Longer
A few weeks ago on the Odd Lots podcast, we talked to Paul Schmelzing, a Ph.D candidate at Harvard, who explained how the bull market in U.S. Treasuries could come to a screeching halt. This week we examine the other side of the debate. Our guest is Srinivas Thiruvadanthai, director of research at the Jerome Levy Forecasting Center in Mount Kisco, New York. He explains how a combination of structural factors in the global economy and massive levels of debt could depress interest rates on government debt for years to come. In addition to explaining why the bond bull market of more than three decades can survive, Thiruvadanthai explains what everyone gets wrong on how inflation occurs.
Mar 10 2017
Rank #15: How One Of The Most Profitable Trades Of The Last Few Years Blew Up In A Single Day
In recent years, one of the easiest ways to make money in this market has been to bet on low volatility. Up until recently, markets have been exceptionally tranquil, and trades predicated on that tranquility continuing have made a fortune. But two of the most popular vehicles for making that trade, XIV and SVXY got obliterated in one day in early February. On this week's episode of the Odd Lots podcast, we speak to Pravit Chintawongvanich, the head of Derivatives Strategy at Macro Risk Advisors about the episode. He explains what the short volatility trade was, how specifically these funds operated, and how they ultimately became victims of their own success.
Feb 19 2018
Rank #16: 43: Seinfeld Can Teach You Everything You Need About Economics
The hit show Seinfeld is often referred to as the show about nothing, but maybe it's actually a show all about economics. Alan Grant is an associate professor of economics at Baker University and a proprietor of The Economics of Seinfeld, a website that catalogues all the ways the legendary sitcom imparts valuable economic lessons. In the latest edition of the Odd Lots podcast, Grant talks about what you can learn from watching the show, and the specific lessons of various episodes, including The Chinese Restaurant (a lesson in opportunity cost), The Contest (a lesson in time preference) and the apartment (rationing mechanisms and rent control).
Aug 29 2016
Rank #17: The Biggest Lesson Investors Should Have Learned From the Crisis
It's been 10 years since the start of the credit crunch that eventually led to the global financial crisis. For many investors, the events of 2007 to 2008 shook their entire understanding of how markets are meant to work. In this week's episode of the Odd Lots podcast we speak to Mark Dow, a global macro trader and financial blogger, as well as a former economist at the U.S. Treasury and the International Monetary Fund.
He walks us through some of the most important lessons that investors should have learned from the crisis, including why central bank stimulus efforts haven't had as much of an effect on the real economy, and why oil matters much less to the world than it once did. We also take a brief interlude to learn how a macro manager analyzes U.S. jobs numbers as they come out.
Aug 14 2017
Rank #18: ETFs Are Eating the Financial World and They're Not Done Yet
By now, almost everyone in financial markets is familiar with ETFs (exchange-traded funds), and how they allow investors to move quickly in and out of a basket of stocks with a few clicks. But perhaps people don't realize quite how revolutionary they are, and how much of an impact they've had on the financial system. On this week's episode we talk to Eric Balchunas, an ETFs analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence and Joel Weber, the editor-in-chief of Bloomberg Markets magazine about how extraordinary ETFs are, how far they've come, and how they're about to evolve and get even more gigantic.
Oct 23 2017
Rank #19: 55: Here Are The Signs That A Civilization Is About To Collapse
All great civilizations eventually collapse. It's inevitable. So what are the signs of their demise? On the latest edition of Odd Lots, we speak with Arthur Demarest, a professor at Vanderbilt University who specializes in the end of civilization. Demarest is an anthropologist and archaeologist who's most well known for his work on the Mayans. He tells us about his work, what he's learned -- and what we should be watching out for today.
Nov 18 2016
Rank #20: This Explains Why Modern Markets Developed Where They Did
For centuries, markets were highly-personalized things, often controlled by select groups of people who traded based on long-established and closely-knit relationships. Closed networks -- such as merchant guilds in 16th century Europe -- could ensure trust between buyers and sellers by pushing out bad actors. But then, something happened that would eventually become the foundation of all modern markets. In the 1500s, new trade routes and the arrival of the printing press helped erode the power of merchant guilds and give way to a much more open system of trading where strangers could interact with each other.
On this edition of the Odd Lots podcast, Prateek Raj gives his theory about why modern markets first took hold in Northern Europe, and what this 500-year-old period of disruption can tell us about the world today.
Jan 15 2018