Superstore — Flu Shot Equity

Jonah’s helping out in the pharmacy, but there’s only one flu shot left. The actual pharmacist isn’t much help, so Jonah has to decide who deserves the last flu shot available for the day. Many of the customers are unwilling to drive to a nearby store or come back the next day, and each make an important point about who “needs” it the most. Should the last flu shot go to a pregnant woman, a kindergarten teacher, or the man who was next in line? Rationing can often lead to equity issues when trying to decide who is more deserving of a limited item.

 

Young Sheldon — Germaphobe

Sheldon is a bit of a germaphobe and flu season may be the worst time for him. While one sneeze could be caused by a variety of different items, someone who is sick may be contagious and harm others. Having the flu can impose a variety of external costs on others if they get sick. These externalities often plague college classrooms around exam time though, but it’s not as convincing of a story as The Dead Grandmother/Exam Syndrome.

Life in Pieces — Coupons as gifts

Matt isn’t the best at giving gifts and he’s realizing that this year. Matt gives his wife a homemade coupon book that she decides to finally cash in to show him how awful the gifts are. After a while he doesn’t work as hard, but then at family dinner he finds out that no one really appreciates his gifts because it doesn’t seem like he puts much thought into them. There is a small line about positive externalities because Jen got a flu shot for her birthday once, which her husbands announces was “the gift that keeps on giving.”

Life in pieces also has another great clip on opportunity cost that’s worth checking out!

NSF — Tragedy of the Commons

The tragedy of the commons are predictable outcomes when looking at grazing lanes, highways, fisheries, and forests. This quick video from the National Science Foundation is a short introduction to the issues that plague common resources. The ending portion of the video paints the tragedy in a much broader light by highlighting the growing need to preserve nature as populations continue to grow.

John Stossel — Tragedy of the Commons

In this Stossel in the Classroom segment, Stossel analyzes the issues around common resources and public goods. In the opening interview, many people believe public versions of items are better and often cite the lack of a price as the main reason for selecting that over a private item. The same people are quick to point out that a public toilet doesn’t have the same connotation because people overuse it and don’t take care of the resources because no one owns it.

This clips is beneficial to talk about how tragedy of the commons can be overcome by assigning property rights to a business and turning it into a private good.

TedEd — What is the tragedy of the commons

Here’s a great opening video for teaching common resources and the tragedy of the commons. This version of the video actually does a great job explaining the math of the overfishing problem and how you need to have enough reproductive pairs in order to maintain the optimal level of the stock. This video could be used a pre-lesson video to introduce the topic.

Always Sunny — The Cost of Health Care

After Dee has a heart attach, she heads to the hospital only to find out that she doesn’t have insurance because her dad canceled the policy when they were younger. Mac and Charlie are confused that people have to pay to stay in a hospital because they think of it like a public good similar to police and fire protection, which is nonexcludable.

Frank shows up to get a full body health scan because he’s been having a bit too much fun. This line alone is a great clip for teaching moral hazard when it comes to healthcare.

This is Us — Who Has the Right to Light?

Kevin and Randall are two brothers who share a room. In this clip, Randall is trying to finish his homework by his bedside underneath a desk lamp. Being it is 2:00AM, Kevin is trying to sleep and is annoyed by the added light in the room. An altercation ensues, prompting Rebecca to intervene. After an offer from Randall to move to a different room, Kevin barges out, retreating to the basement.

The cause of the initial problem is Randall’s desk light, which acts as the negative externality in the situation. Randall is the producer of the externality, because the opportunity cost of shutting off the light and going to bed is too high in the face of his other responsibilities, such as football and homework. Kevin’s opportunity cost, however, conflicts with Randall’s preferences, because the opportunity cost of losing sleep is too high in light of his commitment to football. In searching for a solution, Randall makes a transaction cost by offering to move into the kitchen, since this offer acts as a form of negotiation. The problem is eventually ended through Kevin’s internalization of the externality: moving to the basement. It is through this action that Kevin utilizes the Coase Theorem to eliminate any more transaction costs and to end the problem efficiently.

Thanks to Megan Vareha for the clip and the summary!

Always Sunny — Charlie & Mac Can’t Go to the Pool

In this episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” Mac and Charlie try to go swimming during the heat wave in Philadelphia. They grab their beer and floaties and head over to the local swim club. However, they are stopped by a worker who makes them put their beer away and then proceeds to tell them that they cannot be there because they are not members of the swim club. Frustrated with this, Mac and Charlie decide to make their own swim club, one that anyone can attend.

This clip relates to economics because the swim club is an example of an excludable, non-rival good, which is a club good. Because Mac and Charlie don’t pay the fee to be a member, they are unable to swim there. And, the worker tells them that they are at full capacity and are accepting no more members because the pool has the ability to restrict the number of members and charge higher prices. The two get disgruntled because they think the pool really isn’t at full capacity. They decide to go to an abandoned pool, one they used to swim in during their childhoods, and revamp it to make it nonexcludable and nonrival, which would make it a common resource. However, since it would become a public good, it would be easy to get overcrowded, making it rival and a common good.

Thanks to Anna DeCecco for the clip and summary.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑