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The economy, explained, with stories and surprises. Imagine you could call up a friend and say, "Meet me at the bar and tell me what's going on with the economy." Now imagine that's actually a fun evening. That's what we're going for at <em>Planet Money</em>. People seem to like it.


#400: What Two Pasta Factories Tell Us About The Italian Economy

September 8th, 2012

Episode 512 of 902 episodes

A decade ago, the Barilla pasta factory in Foggia, Italy, had a big problem with people skipping work. The absentee rate was around 10 percent. People called in sick all the time, typically on Mondays, or on days when there was a big soccer game. Foggia is in southern Italy. Barilla's big factory in northern Italy had a much lower absentee rate. This is not surprising; there's a huge economic gap between southern and northern Italy. It's like two different countries. Barilla execs told Nicola Calandrea, the manager of the Foggia plant, that they would close the factory unless he brought the absenteeism rate down. Calandrea decided that to save the factory, he had to change the culture. On today's show, we visit the factory and hear how Calandrea made it work.

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