Argo — The Best Bad Idea

A CIA agent creates a fake Hollywood production in order to fool Iranian terrorists into releasing a group of U.S. diplomats based on the 1979 Tehran hostage crisis. In this scene, Tony (Ben Affleck) presents the concept of Argo. The CIA will eventually grant the proposal, but they want to know if there are any other bad ideas that could be better.

The concept of “the best bad idea” helps explain why some firms may operate in the short-run despite suffering a loss. While firms would love to earn a positive profit, there are a few loss situations available as well:

  1. (WORST) Firms can produce below AVC and lose both their fixed costs and some of their variable costs
  2. (BAD) Firms can shut down when prices are below AVC and lose their fixed costs
  3. (BEST OF THE BAD) Firms can produce as long as prices are above AVC and lose a little bit of money

Some students always want to divert to shutting down if firms face losses, but there’s a “better bad idea” as long as prices are above average variable costs.

Thanks to Darren Grant for the clip suggestion!

Darren also has a new book out entitled Methods of Economic Research!

Stella Artois — Chang Up The Usual

This Stella Artois commercial features Sarah Jessica Parker reprising her “Sex and the City” role and Jeff Bridges in his from “The Big Lebowski.” Both of their characters had their respective go-to drinks. The cosmopolitan for Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw and a white Russian for Bridges The Dude. We first see Parker choosing to order a Stella Artois, which means she gives up her next best alternative the cosmo. This is a surprising choice, so much so that the entire restaurant comes to a halt. We then see Bridges enter, and the bartender assumes he is going to have his usual white Russian, but instead he also orders a Stella Artois (comically mispronouncing it as well!). Show this clip and have the students identify what the opportunity costs of choosing the Stella Artois is for each character.

Thanks to Erin Yetter (Twitter) for the clip and description!

Sarah Silverman — Stop Telling Girls They Can Be Anything They Want

 

While I was listening to Hi! Bob on Audible, one of the scenes involved Sarah Silverman and Bob Newhart discussing stand up comedy. The clip in the chapter comes from Silverman’s set entitled, “We Are Miracles” and discusses the impact of priming on young women. Telling people they can be anything they want can possible introduce issues they maybe never thought were issues before. How we talk to young women often plays a role in future human capital acquisition and may lead to a form of subtle human capital discrimination.

Moneyball — What’s the Problem?

The study of economics is often boiled down to the allocation of scarce resources, and few media clips illustrate that better than this iconic scene from Moneyball. The Oakland A’s scouts discuss the selection of players based on their appearance, but Beane recognizes that it’s too difficult to replace players using the old method.

ESPN 30 for 30: Broke — Paying Self First

 

Athletes become broke after retirement because of overspending, unexpected expenses, poor financial advice, but also feeling guilty about not helping others around them. One of the early tips of financial advice was to pay oneself before paying others. It’s easy to look at the purchase of houses or unexpected as something that can be prevented, but helping family and friends is something that isn’t as easy to give up.

Abdullah Al-Bahrani and Darshak Patel have a great paper in the Southern Economic Journal that looks at using ESPN 30 for 30 to teach economics.

ESPN 30 for 30: Broke — Risky Investments

 

Athletes become broke after retirement because of overspending, unexpected expenses, and poor financial advice from third parties. Because of the prominence of reporting athlete salaries, distant friends and family pitch business ideas to athletes, most of which have no knowledge of the risk involved in starting a business. Safer assets are not viewed as exciting or sexy, despite their considerable safety. One way to help secure financial futures is to seek out financial advice from professionals who are educated in the field.

Abdullah Al-Bahrani and Darshak Patel have a great paper in the Southern Economic Journal that looks at using ESPN 30 for 30 to teach economics.

30 for 30: Broke — Unexpected Expenses

 

One reason why so many athletes become broke after retirement is overspending, but a secondary issue is the unexpected costs associated with earning millions of dollars each year. This segment of the ESPN 30 for 30 special looks at the taxes and unexpected costs associated with earning millions of dollars per year. For many athletes, this may be the first real job they have held, which means they are unaware that they are now part of the highest tax bracket, so approximately 40% of their millions is withheld. A secondary issue is that athletes play in multiple states and countries, which means that they owe state and federal taxes in more than one jurisdiction. Because of the complicated tax situations, many athletes need a financial advisor in addition to their agents, who also take a percentage of the total income.

Abdullah Al-Bahrani and Darshak Patel have a great paper in the Southern Economic Journal that looks at using ESPN 30 for 30 to teach economics.

ESPN 30 for 30: Broke — Budgeting and Spending

 

Young professional athletes are essentially lottery winners once they’ve signed a contract with a team. Seemingly overnight they become millionaires. One reason why so many athletes become broke after retirement is not for a lack of income, but rather a misunderstanding of needs and wants. Many athletes struggle to budget their income appropriately and don’t consumption smooth between in-season and offseason.

Common spending patterns include:

  1. Buying a home/car for self and family members
  2. Jewelry/clothes/shoes

The issue that many athletes face is the lack of realization that most professional careers are short term, but the costs of those items have lasting impacts.

Abdullah Al-Bahrani and Darshak Patel have a great paper in the Southern Economic Journal that looks at using ESPN 30 for 30 to teach economics.

ESPN 30 for 30: Broke — Financial Literacy

 

The growth of professional sports over the past few decades has also meant that athlete salaries have grown as well. The issue? Professional athletes fresh out of high school and college (most under the age of 22) are become overnight millionaires, and most lack the financial literacy to handle that adjustment. Surprising to most, a large percentage of professional athletes declare bankruptcy within a few years because of their inability to manage their finances. Nearly 16% of NFL players file for bankruptcy within 12 years of retirement and ESPN’s Broke looked at the prevalence of financial stress for professional athletes.

Abdullah Al-Bahrani and Darshak Patel have a great paper in the Southern Economic Journal that looks at using ESPN 30 for 30 to teach economics.

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