The Chi — Price > Marginal Cost

 

Coogie Johnson rides up to the corner store to get a grape pop and beef jerky. Habib, the store owner, tells him it’s $1.00 for the soda and $1.75 for the jerky. Coogie then tries to talk Habib down to letting him pay $0.25 for soda and pay full price for the jerky to which his son nodded in approval. Even though the retail price for the soda and the jerky are $1.00 and $1.75, respectively. Coogie knows that the soda is priced well above the marginal cost and attempts to negotiate the price down closer to the marginal cost. Habib argues that it’s not fair to charge him a different price than other customers, but the son recognizes that some profit is better than no profit and agrees to sell it to Coogie at a lower price.

Thanks to Kyle Davis for the reference.

South Park — Alexa is Stealing Our Jobs (NSFW)

 

 

In the episode, everybody in South Park is buying that Amazon Alexa as a voice assistant to make their lives easier, however there is a negative externality to buying the Alexa. The local low-skilled workers in their town believe that these new machines are stealing their jobs, a classic South Park catchphrase, and they start to protest. Randy Marsh, a tv show personality comes up with a solution to fix this by having the locals replace the personal assistants, but not all of the locals are happy about this.

Thanks to John Miller for the clip suggestion!

Superstore — A Pharmacist’s Salary

Tate has no problem sharing his salary, but it’s unclear the main driver of the salary. In reality, salaries are comprised of a variety of skill and compensating differentials as well as potential efficiency payments. Tate has a doctorate of pharmacy, which should result in higher pay for human capital investments. In the clip above he mentions that people could die if he messes up, which probably adds a lot of pressure to his workday. This pressure could be a compensating differential that increases his pay. However, there’s also a chance he’s paid highly so that he doesn’t goof off, which would be an efficiency payment.

Chris Rock — High School Orientation

Chris Rock describes taking his daughter to her high school orientation and hearing the vice principle talk about how students can be anything that they want to be. While optimistic, Rock points out that it’s more appropriate to tell them that they can be whatever they’re good at as long as someone is hiring. It turns out Chris Rock and stand up comedy has a lot of insights on economics.

Thanks to Kim Holder and ECONShots for clip idea!

 

King of Queens — A Wasted Tombstone

Arthur bought a tombstone a while back in order to save money and the salesman assured him that he would most likely be dead by 2000, so he pre-printed the “19” on the tombstone so that they would only have to fill out the end of the year. Fast forward to 1999 and Arthur finds out he has 8 months to die or else his tombstone will go to waste. This clip is a succinct enough clip to teach about sunk costs since the price of the tombstone has already been paid and Arthur wouldn’t be able to get his money back.

Construction Site in Thailand

A few years back there was a popular video of a human powered ferris wheel in India. I use that clip to talk about labor abundance in the Heckscher–Ohlin model of trade since India is so labor-abundant. Earlier we came across this fantastic video of a construction site in Thailand (another labor rich country). For small construction jobs, the workers will use manpower (literally) instead of machines to drive piles into the ground.  This clip could also be used in a labor economics setting if you’re talking about substitutes in production. Either way, this is a fun-video for class with a pretty nice beat from the tambourine-wielding foreman.

Los Angeles Clippers — Dynamic & Variable Pricing

The LA Clippers explain the difference between variable and dynamic ticket pricing, which are often confused by fans. Variable pricing refers to changes in ticket prices based on factors like opponent, day of the week, or time of the game. Dynamic ticket pricing takes things a step further and actually bases the ticket price off demand and supply for a particular game.

Always Sunny — Surrogacy Savings

Dee offers her womb to become a surrogate for a couple. In order to try and get a higher payoff, she offers  to have more children at a discount for the couple. She notes that savings really kicks in if the couple were to have multiple children at one time. She even offers to be an octo-mom. This could also serve as a fun example of second degree price discrimination.

Rick & Morty — What’s the Point of Automation?

 

 

Rick’s quote in this episode is as followed, “The point of automation is to reduce cost and labor!” He says this because his robot’s dialogue disappointed him. This directly relates to economics, labor economics in particular, as when a firm’s supply of labor becomes too inelastic they will substitute capital for labor in order to reduce costs and increase profits. The firm, or Rick, is substituting capital for labor as we saw when examining firms’ reactions to labor markets.

Thanks to Justin Cooper for the clip and description!

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