Shawshank Redemption — Cigarettes as Money

In this short scene, Red pays an inmate to smuggle contraband with cigarettes. Cigarettes are used as money a lot in prison and it is shown throughout this film. This scene can be shown to talk about medium of exchange, commodity money, bartering, etc.

Thanks to James Tierney for the clip and description.

Jurassic Park — Coupon Day at the Park

This clip has both the idea of an inelastic good and the idea of price discrimination. I suggest using it when teaching elasticity and then also using it when you teach price discrimination and talk about how they connect!

Here’s the page from the book.

Thanks to James Tierney for the clip and description!

Shawshank Redemption — Crowding Out

In this scene, cheap inmate labor provided by Shawshank crowds out private investment. The Warden ends up getting bribed to make sure he does not bid on a contract that the private investor needs to have. This can be shown to students to talk about how programs that are meant to help the economy can crowd out private investment. It can also lead into a discussion on corruption and greed.

Thanks James Tierney for the clip and description!

Battle of the Sexes — The Press Release

Billie Jean King left theĀ United States Lawn Tennis Association because of the promoter’sĀ  refusal to compensate the female players the same as the male players. Promoter Jack Kramer (played by Bill Pullman) argues that the men are paid more because they are stronger and faster. His colleague argues it from a reservation wage standpoint, that men needed to be paid more to attract them to the circuit. King (played by Emma Stone) argued that women should be paid equally based on marginal revenue product theory since the women sell the same number of tickets as men.

This same issue has been recently discussed regarding the US men’s and women’s national soccer teams.

Apollo 13 — Failure is Not an Option

The crew of Apollo 13 is stuck in orbit around the moon and the NASA crew on the ground is trying to figure out how to get the astronauts home alive. Faced with only the tools in space and a limited time window, the engineers must use every available item at their disposal to maximize the amount of time before reentry to Earth’s atmosphere. This clip is a nice introduction to the idea of consumer choice, budget constraints, and utility maximization. All resources must be used in the model and their is no value to saving anything. The goal is to earn as much utility as possible given the budget constraint. The same issue faced the NASA engineers: they had to use all available resources, there was no benefit to saving items for next time, and they had to maximize the time/oxygen/energy for the astronauts.

21 — Monty Hall Problem

MIT Professor, Micky Rosa (played by Kevin Spacey) challenges Ben with the Monty Hall problem of selecting a door with a prize hidden behind it. The Monty Hall Problem is based on a statistics brain teaser that insists the optimal choice is to switch your decision after the host reveals what’s behind one of the doors.

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