West Wing — CPI Increases

 

At this part in the episode, Senior Communications Director Toby Ziegler tells Press Secretary C.J. Cregg about the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting the CPI increased by 0.7% in one month (could this be info that they released on Jobs Friday?). C.J. is about to go to a press briefing and quickly practices an answer in case a reporter asks about this startling statistic. C.J. and Toby, though they don’t name these exactly, talk about New Product Bias and Quality Bias as ways of explaining why CPI is not always reliable!

Thanks to Katie Cook and Kalina Staub from UNC for getting this clip on the website!

Adam Ruins Everything — Revealing Salaries

Adam Ruins Everything is a half-hour informational comedy were host, Adam Conover, debunks popular myths. Each episode is divided into 3 segments with some common theme. In the Spring of 2018, James Tierney and I sat down to go through all three seasons of Adam Ruins Everything to pick out examples in each episode that could be used in an economics course. If you’re curious about the paper, you can read about it here.

In this video, Adam goes through notion that sharing salaries is bad for workers, but focuses on how this practice creates information asymmetry in the workplace and gives managers the power to lower wages since workers aren’t well informed.

Wendy’s — Choice is Good

This Wendy’s commercial picks fun at Soviet economics that were notorious for limiting options available to consumers in the name of efficiency, but monopolistic competition in a capital market thrives on product differentiation and the ability to cater to people’s preferences.

Thanks to Rob Szarka for the find!

Good Will Hunting — Value of a Degree

In this iconic scene from Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon gets into a confrontation at a bar with an undergrad who is trying to embarrass his friend who is trying to impress a group of young women. In the process of humiliating the other student, the two get into a key distinction on the value of a college degree. Someone could obtain the same knowledge of a college degree from accessing a public library, but the lack of an actual degree (a signal perhaps) limits the job opportunities available for many.

Thanks to Charlie Clarke for the post!

Superstore — Incentives

 

Cloud 9 has divided employees into two teams to see who can sell the most stuff by the end of the day. The winning team will earn a pizza party, but Glen is surprised that employees aren’t participating. He didn’t reveal that the winning team also gets $100 per member, which is a much better incentive for the employee. As Amy notes, for incentives to be effective, they need to be announced before the start of the competition.

Superstore — Phone Innovation

 

It’s back to school time and everyone has flooded the store to buy calculators, notebooks, dictionaries, and planners, but these are all items that come with a smartphone so it makes those products obsolete for most individuals. Creative destruction occurs when new innovations replace old industries.

Superstore — Union Scare

 

The team is trying to donate days off so Cheyenne can have her baby since Cloud 9 doesn’t offer maternity leave. Jonah finds out how much profit Cloud 9 made the year before and calls corporate with Amy to try and see if they can give Cheyenne maternity leave. At the mere mention of other company’s with unions having paid maternity leave, corporate sends a union buster to try and talk the store out of organizing.

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