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Economics Detective Radio is a podcast about markets, ideas, institutions, and all things related to the field of economics. Episodes consist of long-form interviews and are generally released on Fridays. Topics include economic theory, economic history, the history of thought, money, banking, finance, macroeconomics, public choice, business cycles, health care, education, international trade, and anything else of interest to economists, students, and serious amateurs interested in the scien ...
 
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For 76 years, the last Thursday of November was the official Thanksgiving holiday...until 1939...when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed the Thursday before the last Thursday of November would be the official Thanksgiving holiday. This is the story of Franksgiving-where I look back to examine why the day was changed and to see if Bakers…
 
For this episode of the Notorious Bakersfield podcast, I'm going to take a look back at how the people of Bakersfield responded to the 1938 radio adaptation of "War of the Worlds". This is considered one of the biggest Halloween pranks ever played on a mass of people. But was it really? Did that many people really fall for this prank? In addition t…
 
Just before dawn on March 9, 1972, Daniel Fusselman, a 49-year-old unemployed bartender sat in his car, outside his estranged wife Priscilla's house in Park Stockdale. She was working the graveyard shift at a downtown Bakersfield coffee shop. He wanted to witness firsthand his wife's reaction to what he'd done inside the home. They were going throu…
 
Wiley Dorris was one of the most respected criminal defense attorneys in Bakersfield. If you found yourself on the wrong side of the law, Wiley was the guy you wanted in your corner. But overshadowing his courtroom triumphs, was his wife's political activism and electoral comeback victories. Grace Dorris was one of the first women in the United Sta…
 
28-year-old Matthew Dale Odom was assaulted and stabbed in his front yard in the early morning hours of September 15, 2014. The father of four later died at the hospital from his injuries. The seven-year anniversary of this crime is this week. Typically I cover older cases. But since this murder remains unsolved and relatively recent, I decided to …
 
Ralph Smith Jr was a prominent Bakersfield home builder, real estate developer, and broker. He built many of the homes in Bakersfield's now well-established neighborhoods. In 1966, he and his family were living at 275 Panorama Dr, a home Ralph built specifically for his family. It was at this home on September 8, 1966, where Ralph Smith, his wife E…
 
This past week, a parole board recommended parole for a convicted murderer. In 2001 Torie Lynn Knapp was brutally stabbed to death by her then 15-year-old son Parker Chamberlin. This was a gruesome murder that shocked everyone who knew both the victim and the killer. How could a teenager who appeared to have a close and loving relationship with his…
 
The 1961 kidnapping, sexual assault, and murder of 6-year-old Rose Marie Riddle happened in Shafter, only 15 miles from Bakersfield. It was so horrific, news of the crime reverberated throughout the state of California like an earthquake. Families feared that if such an awful thing could happen in the small town of Shafter, it could happen in large…
 
During the summer of 1952, Bakersfield-actually, most of Kern County-experienced an earthquake, and a string of aftershocks that forever changed our city's landscape. Besides the tragic loss of lives, the earthquake altered downtown Bakersfield's architecture that took shape immediately following the quake. I had some questions regarding the 1952 e…
 
Through the Summer of 1981, there was a serial rapist prowling the streets of Bakersfield. But you wouldn't have known about it unless you had a connection to law enforcement or a local news reporter. Or were one of his victims, or knew one of his victims. There were no newspaper headlines or nightly TV news stories warning the citizens of Bakersfi…
 
The subject of this episode deals with the death of a law enforcement officer. Coincidentally, just last Sunday, July 25, 2021, the Kern County Sheriff Office and the entire community suffered a tremendous loss. Deputy Philip Campas tragically died in the line of duty in Wasco. I'm sensitive to the reality that many in our community are grieving De…
 
The neighborhood that runs along Palm Ave in Rosedale looks remarkably the same as it did in 1992. Like then, this neighborhood doesn't seem to be the type of neighborhood where a triple murder could happen. But it did. And it left Bakersfield reeling. Kenneth and Cynthia Volpe, and Cynthia's mother Betty Reed were murdered by an evil man with a da…
 
In March 1960, Bakersfield was the site of an awful railroad tragedy. A passenger train collided with a truck hauling highly flammable oil product. 14 people were killed and 64 more were injured. While this train accident was an awful tragedy, what I discovered in my research, was Bakersfield's response to this crisis was nothing less than inspirat…
 
He had a BIG presence in Bakersfield. He had a big personality with an even bigger passion for food. He was a big name in the local restaurant business. Freddie Giovanetti's culinary career spanned over 30 years...From dishwasher to owning a chain of restaurants. His story is a classic American dream story. A story of business success built by hard…
 
Anna Bertram Duncan was the daughter of two Kern County pioneering families. Her father was Millard A. Duncan, owner of MA Duncan & Company, a mercantile business that was located at 18th & Eye Streets. Her mother, Emma Duncan, was the stepdaughter of Peter Wible, whose offspring went on to become some of Bakersfield's most prominent civic, farming…
 
In 1926, Fairy Cornell and her daughter Fairy Gerace were murdered by Odd Cornell, Fairy Cornell's estranged husband. It happened in a home that once stood on the north side of 24th Street, between Chester Ave. and Eye St. Most people living today have no idea about this tragedy that made headlines across the country. The Alliance Against Family Vi…
 
Michael Heller joins the podcast to discuss his new book, Mine! How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives. This book explores the implicit social rules governing ownership. In brief, these rules are as follows: Attachment ("it's mine because it's connected to something of mine") Possession ("it's mine because I physically control it") Fir…
 
With a short trip into the mountains near Los Angeles, in Big Santa Anita Canyon, you can step back in time to the Great Hiking Era of the early 20th century. This episode also features an interview with Maggie Moran, owner of Adams Pack Station, regarding the current situation in the canyon after the Bobcat Fire.…
 
Today's guest is Michael McCullough of the University of California, San Diego. We are discussing his book The Kindness of Strangers: How a Selfish Ape Invented a New Moral Code. How did humans, a species of self-centered apes, come to care about others? Since Darwin, scientists have tried to answer this question using evolutionary theory. In The K…
 
Today's guest is Nina Roussille of UC Berkeley and we discuss her working paper, The central role of the ask gap in gender pay inequality. The gender ask gap measures the extent to which women ask for lower salaries than comparable men. This paper studies the role of the ask gap in generating wage inequality using novel data from Hired.com, a leadi…
 
Anton Howes returns to the podcast to discuss his new book, Arts and Minds: How the Royal Society of Arts Changed a Nation. From its beginnings in a coffee house in the mid-eighteenth century, the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce has tried to improve British life in every way imaginable. It has sought to influe…
 
Today's guest is Stuart Ritchie, psychologist and author of Science Fictions: How Fraud, Bias, Negligence, and Hype Undermine the Search for Truth. Science is how we understand the world. Yet failures in peer review and mistakes in statistics have rendered a shocking number of scientific studies useless – or, worse, badly misleading. Such errors ha…
 
Today's guests are Sylvain Catherine and Natasha Sarin of the University of Pennsylvania. They discuss their research on wealth inequality, specifically with respect to social security's impact on calculated wealth inequality. When you account for the value of all future payroll taxes into Social Security and all future benefit payments from Social…
 
This bonus episode features an interview from The Passion Economy, created by Adam Davidson of NPR's Planet Money. The clip features an interview with Coss Marte, an enterprising entrepreneur in an unorthodox business. The economy is bananas, even scary. But some people are thriving, and we're going to figure out how. Adam Davidson, "New Yorker" wr…
 
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