Jerry Seinfeld — Morning Guy

In one of Seinfeld’s monologues he covers the time inconsistencies between people’s decisions late at night versus the next day.  In his latest Netflix special, Jerry Before Seinfeld, goes through the bit again with some updates. While we assume people to be rational in many models, people do odd things with respect to their own-selves that they may not do if they were forward thinking. This time inconsistency creates a lot of opportunities for discussions of procrastination, overconfidence biases, and other behavioral anomalies.

If you want more economics and Seinfeld, check out YadaYadaYadaEcon.com!

Chris Rock — Break Up

Chris Rock discusses his recent divorces and encourages couples in love to make sure they hold tight to one another. He does warn that if you’re thinking about leaving then you should probably leave immediately, perhaps after the show. A lot of people stay in relationships they don’t like being in because they’ve been together for so long, but that’s just irrational!

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!

 

MedicoreFilms — Free Hugs

My students favorite clip when discussing product differentiation is this clip from MedicoreFilms where a guy offers Deluxe Hugs for $2 more. One of his opening lines best illustrates the concept of monopolistic competition:

Deluxe guy: How’s businesses?

Free guy: Mine are free, this isn’t a business.

Deluxe guy: Different people want different stuff, so it’s cool.

Businesses can differentiate their products by quality, style, location, etc. The guy offering deluxe hugs is trying to fill a portion of the market from people willing to pay more for “better” hugs.

Ryan Hamilton — Canceling a Gym Membership

Ryan goes through the steps he had to complete in order to cancel his gym membership. By requiring all of the additional steps to opt out of the membership, it decreases the likelihood that individuals will actually cancel their membership and instead pay the monthly fee despite not wanting the service. Ryan even discusses how he’s fallen victim to the sunk cost fallacy because he walked by his gym on the way to purchase envelopes for the letter, but he was already “in too deep” to stop by and cancel in person.

Adam Ruins Everything — Unemployment Rate

Adam reviews the requirements for individuals to be considered unemployment under the most traditional classification of unemployment (U3). While he mentions that this isn’t a perfect measure, he doesn’t mention the other types of unemployment. This could be a good introduction to the different types of unemployment counted by the BLS.

Mitch Hedberg — Comparative Advantage in Comedy

Mitch Hedberg has spent a lot of time becoming a good comedian, but as soon as he gets to Hollywood, people start asking him to do other things that he isn’t (comparatively) good at like acting or writing. He compares this to spending time becoming a great cook and then being asked if you could farm. People should specialize in what they have a comparative advantage in and if Mitch Hedberg spent is time writing or acting then he’d be giving up a lot of income as a good comedian.

You can see the full clip on Comedy Central.

Extremely Decent — First Honest Cable Company

When a firm has monopoly power, they have the ability to charge higher prices for a reduce quantity (and sometimes quality) service. If consumers don’t have alternatives then they are forced to deal with poor customer service and unreliability. This comedy piece highlights a fictions cable company that actually admits they aren’t very good.

College Humor — Apartment Hunting is the Worst (NSFW)

This comedy series shows a series of examples of associated with price ceilings for apartments in New York City. It shows not only the predictably inefficiently low quality of these apartments, but also the wasted resources that are involved when there is a shortage of apartments.

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