Curb Your Enthusiasm — Anonymous Donations

Larry David makes a large donation to the National Resources Defense Council, a non-profit environmental advocacy group, but Larry is quickly upstaged by an anonymous donation that he finds out is made by Ted Danson. Larry felt like he was doing a great thing by donating to the fund, but felt it was a truly altruistic donation. He believes the anonymous donation by Ted Danson is a better deal because anonymous donors get more recognition for appearing to not care about the recognition, even though they go around telling people they were the anonymous donor.

Thanks to Nautilus and Moblab for the clip suggestions:

KRON 4 — Online News in 1981

A look back at a 1981 news segment that covers the Internet and the eventual push to online media. At the time, 8 newspapers were currently part of the network delivering their daily news via this system. The “paper” included all text, but not images or classifieds. Near the end of the segment, they predict that nearly all news will be delivered electronically, but that the time would be a few years away. The segment closes with a look at a newspaper salesman who would potentially become structurally unemployed when the need for physical papers vanishes.

The Toys That Made Us — Two Part Tariffs for Barbie

 

When designing the pricing model of Barbies, Mattel looked to Gillette’s pricing model for razors and razorblades, which is a form of second degree price discrimination that utilizes two part tariffs as a way of maximizing profit from group buyers. The doll (or razors) are sold at very low prices, but the accessories (or razor blades) are the main drivers of profit for the firm. This model allows the company to sell a lot of base products at near marginal cost, but then charge high prices for the accessories, which are a critical component of the overall product.

Brooklyn 99 — Wine Drink as a Gift

 

The squad is invited over to the Captain’s house for a birthday party,¬† and they all have the same idea when it comes to wine. While Jake wants to try to impress the captain with the finest bottle of wine, he’s a little out of the price range and settles for an $8 bottle of wine. Come to find out, the entire squad buys the same bottle of “wine drink” and Kevin isn’t too fond of their selection.

While it isn’t clear that there is much of a difference between cheap and expensive wine, “wine drink” probably doesn’t send the best signal of quality.

Brooklyn 99 — Risk Aversion in Air Travel

 

Boyle is going on a singles cruise and isn’t sure when to arrive at the airport. He approaches Gina with the idea of getting to the airport 5 hours early for a domestic flight (which is already too much!), but she tries to convince him he actually needs to be there 8 hours. Some people prefer to arrive at the airport extra early because they are scared they will miss their flight, but most people don’t need to arrive more than 2 hours. Later in the episode, we learn that Boyle missed his flight because of an assignment, but that he actually bought a backup flight just in case he missed it. This is perhaps an extreme version of risk aversion.

Vox — What people miss about the gender wage gap

Vox analyzes the gender pay gap and explains with how the measure is calculated and some of the issues with the way the gap is calculated. In particular, the measure focuses on the median earnings of men and women across the United States, but that isn’t necessarily the fairest representation of underpayment for women in the United State.

Bloomberg — How Much Money Do You Need to Be Wealthy in America?

Relative values of wealth are often difficult for students to analyze, primarily given our focus on income. Income is the flow of money while wealth is an accumulation of assets. Different generations perceive the concept of “wealthy” differently, but this video includes nonpecuniary aspects like spending time with family or being able to vacations as markers of wealthy. It would be interesting to survey students what they feel is a level of wealth that they would identify as being “wealthy.” I suspect it could also be a good opportunity to talk about the differences between means and medians.

John Mulaney — Majoring in English

 

After receiving a donation request from his undergraduate university, Mulaney questions the purpose of college. After spending $120,000 to major in English, he realizes that he may not have actually gotten out of it what he thought he would (human capital), but instead received a lot of consumptive benefits. He doesn’t mention the signalling aspect of a college degree, but it’s implied through his analysis on the lack of training he received.

John Mulaney — An XXL Shirt

 

 

John receives an XXL shirt as a child, which was pretty useless to him. His mom suggests that he use it as a sleep shirt, but he really wants to make a comment to the person who gave him the gift. His mom explains that it’s rude to make comments about people who give your gifts, but John is quick to notice that the inefficiencies of receiving gifts that aren’t really usable.

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