Episodes
Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Sonora, are known as “Ambos Nogales” — “both Nogaleses.” The city straddles the border of Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. For a long time, a hole-riddled chain-link fence ran along that border. Residents could cross back and forth with ease. But in 1995, the federal government replaced the chain-link fence with a wall. Over time, that wall has been fortified with surveillance towers, more Customs and Border Patrol agents, and drones.  President Trump wants to extend...
Published 02/19/20
Free college tuition seems like a solution to so many problems. After all, the price of tuition is the No. 1 reason students give for leaving school. And when students don’t finish, they can’t access the many benefits of a college degree. That’s why several presidential candidates have proposed some version of a free college program. But in Kalamazoo, Michigan, free college isn’t a proposal, it’s a reality — and it has been for almost 15 years. Students who live in Kalamazoo and attend its...
Published 02/12/20
Natasha Razouk wants to give her 7-year-old the best possible life. She buys big boxes of fresh tomatoes at Costco, and she gets her daughter warm boots, a good coat, and school supplies each year.  But all that is expensive. Natasha’s daughter grows out of clothes quickly, and she needs books and health care and day care. That’s why the Canadian government gives every parent, including Natasha, a little money each month — a few hundred Canadian dollars — to help cover the cost of raising a...
Published 02/05/20
Janet Feldman has been paying for private insurance for years. She does so even though Australia has a robust public insurance option. But when she was diagnosed with a serious illness, her doctor told her not to use the private insurance she was paying for. She stuck to public insurance — and she’s very glad she did, because using the private system in Australia can have some serious disadvantages.  In fact, so many Australians prefer the public system to the private that it’s become a...
Published 01/31/20
In the early 1990s, the government of Taiwan decided to try an experiment. In just nine months, they completely revolutionized their health care system, covering every single Taiwanese citizen through a single payer program. It’s a system that looks very similar to the Medicare for All proposals from presidential candidates like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  Vox's health care reporter, Dylan Scott, went to Taiwan to investigate how their single payer system is working, and...
Published 01/29/20
Two decades ago, Hans-Josef Fell quietly started a revolution in his home country, with a law that looks a lot like part of the Green New Deal endorsed by many Democratic candidates. That law transformed Germany, and that has the potential to change the world.   Fell found a way to make renewable energy technology — like solar panels and wind turbines — cheap. His law allowed Germans to sell the renewable energy they create to the grid at a really high fixed price. Germany paid that fixed...
Published 01/22/20
President Gerald Ford took office during one of the most difficult times in the country’s history. In August 1974, the US had just lived through Watergate, President Richard Nixon’s resignation, and more than a decade of divisive fighting over its involvement in Vietnam. While millions of Americans fought in Southeast Asia, many others protested the war at home — or dodged the draft. Ford wanted to find a way to bring the country together. Just a few weeks after assuming the presidency, he...
Published 01/15/20
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is running for president with a plan to fight the opioid epidemic. Her legislation would dramatically expand access to addiction treatment and overdose prevention, and it would cost $100 billion over 10 years. Addiction experts agree that this is the kind of money the United States needs to fight the opioid crisis. But it’s a really expensive idea, to help a deeply stigmatized population. How would a President Warren get this through Congress?  It’s been done before,...
Published 01/08/20
In this season preview, Vox’s Jillian Weinberger calls a fellow native Ohioan to discuss the perils of Swing State pride during presidential elections, and their frustration with the way election coverage casts their home state. Facing yet another presidential election, The Impact is taking a different tack. We're not running around Ohio, asking patrons in diners to name their preferred candidate. We're exploring what all these contenders actually want to do if they're elected. The 2020...
Published 01/06/20
Sarah Kliff returns for a farewell and a handoff to The Impact's new host, Jillian Weinberger, who has a preview of what's to come in our next season.  If you're not already, subscribe to The Impact on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week. Featuring: Sarah Kliff, @sarahkliff Host: Jillian Weinberger, @jbweinz About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really...
Published 12/16/19
Denmark gives new parents nearly a year off work after they have a baby. Most of that time can be taken by either parent — but dads take barely any time at all.  That has consequences for Danish men and women at work and at home. For the final episode of season two, the Impact travels to Denmark to find out why Danish dads are thumbing their nose at paid leave. We also discover a solution in another country, where more dads are enjoying time off with their new babies. We always want to...
Published 12/14/18
For decades, Memphis grew by bringing its suburbs into the city limits. City officials thought this suburb-gobbling policy would be an economic boon-- that it would bring in tax revenue. Instead, the policy was an economic disaster, especially for the majority black neighborhoods in the city's core. In this episode, we’ll tell you about the consequences of Memphis’ sprawl, and the city’s plan to fix its past mistakes. We always want to hear from you. Send us your thoughts and questions at...
Published 12/07/18
Baltimore is running a unique housing experiment that gives longtime residents vouchers to leave the city’s poorest, most violent neighborhoods for new homes in more affluent suburbs nearby. In this episode, we follow a mom named Alethea through this policy experiment. You’ll hear how Baltimore’s segregationist history planted the problems this program is trying to solve, why some participants are really frustrated with the initiative, and how Alethea decides whether to stay — or go. We...
Published 11/30/18
All across the country, it seems like a given: places with more expensive houses have nicer schools because they can pay higher taxes. That’s just how education seems to work. Except in Vermont. Two decades ago, the state passed a radical law to equalize education funding. On this episode of the Impact.... we’ll tell you how that law came about. It’s the story of one woman, Carol Brigham, her young daughter, Amanda, and their fight to save the tiny school that is the heart of their small...
Published 11/23/18
22% of New Yorkers are obese. In Chicago it is more than a quarter of the city. Obesity puts people at risk of diabetes, heart disease, even certain kinds of cancer. A couple of years ago, both cities decided to do something about it. But the policies they implemented were incredibly different. New York made healthy food more accessible. Chicago made sugary beverages more expensive. On this episode of the Impact: Which approach works best?
Published 11/16/18
While the federal government is trying to deport as many immigrants as possible, Oakland, California, is running a policy experiment to help immigrants stay in their communities. The city is giving as many immigrants as possible attorneys in court, free of charge. In this episode, find out how Oakland pulls this off when the federal government is against them — and how immigrants’ lives change when they get representation. * For more on this topic, check out Dara Lind’s coverage on Vox,...
Published 11/09/18
A decade ago, South Carolina was one of the most dangerous places in America for a baby to be born. But now, it’s taking an unconventional approach to fixing it: having pregnant women sit in circles with other pregnant women and...talk. The early evidence from this experiment suggests that these group sessions might be leading to better birth outcomes, and giving South Carolina babies a healthier start to life. In this episode, we’ll try to understand what it is about these workshops that...
Published 11/02/18
Seattle is running the country’s most radical experiment to fix campaign finance. Last year, the city sent every resident $100 that they could donate to the local campaign of their choice. Seattle flooded its election with small donations to try to drown out the influence of big money in politics. In the first episode of our second season, we set out to discover if Seattle’s experiment made a difference for who decides to run for office, how candidates interact with voters, and who...
Published 11/02/18
The Impact’s second season focuses on states and cities as laboratories of democracy. Unlike our gridlocked Congress, local governments are constantly implementing exciting new policy. This season, the team crisscrossed the country to find the most interesting policy experiments and see how they are changing lives. Season two starts Friday, November 2. In the meantime, be sure to check out the first season, and email us with thoughts and questions at impact@vox.com.
Published 10/26/18
A sneak peek at Vox’s newest show, about provocative ideas with the potential to radically improve the world. Host Dylan Matthews tackles big questions about the most effective ways to save lives, reform prisons, fight global warming, and end world poverty, from decisions in Congress to choices in our everyday lives. Find Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | ART19
Published 10/17/18
The Impact team is hard at work on our second season! In the meantime, here's an episode of Vox’s newest podcast, Today, Explained. This episode is about the gender pay gap, and you’ll hear Sarah talking about the real reason working women earn about 82% as much as men. We’ll talk more about the gender pay gap in the second season of The Impact too. But before our second season begins, tune in to Today, Explained, and, of course, you can always hear Sarah on The Weeds. Enjoy!
Published 04/12/18
We're making season 2, and we need your help! We want to know about local policy experiments from around the country. These can be at the state, county, or city level, and can cover any kind of policy—environmental or housing or criminal justice.  Send us your suggestions at bit.ly/voximpact
Published 01/08/18
The United States has an astoundingly high maternal death rate. It is three times higher than the UK, eight times higher than Norway, and still climbing. But California does way better than the rest of the country. Over the last decade, doctors in the state have banded together and worked to bring their maternal death rate down. Today on The Impact, we'll tell you the story of that effort, and show you how it helped save one woman's life. One of our health care reporters, Julia Belluz, has...
Published 12/04/17
What is the best way to care for patients with severe mental illness? The United States has struggled with this question for decades. In 1963, President Kennedy signed a law that was supposed to transfer patients with severe mental illness out of hospitals and back into their communities -- into outpatient treatment. That effort hasn't really worked. A lot these patients end up homeless. Many are in prison or jail. One recent study found that more than half of all inmates have some kind of...
Published 11/27/17
American women are changing up their birth control. The use of IUDs and implants has increased 6000% in the United States since 2002.  That's the result of specific policy choices made in Washington and in state houses. These policies have reduced the teen pregnancy rate. They have cut the abortion rate. But they’re also at risk right now.  In this episode, we’re going to tell you how those policies came to be, how they're helping women access birth control -- and why, at this very moment,...
Published 11/20/17