The Simpsons — Sirloin-A-Lot Challenge

This clips includes a few different economics concepts rolled in to one. The overarching theme is that of consumer choice where Homer appears to experience diminishing returns while trying to eat a 16 pound steak. He’s competing against a previous eating contest winner, who dies at the end from eating too much steak.

In the middle of the clip, Marge asks Dr. Hibbert if that much steak is healthy and Dr. Hibbert exhibits a bit of the principle-agent problem where his interests now align with eating competitions because he owns a portion of the restaurant. The good doctor tells her not to worry because they have a new heimlich machine, which decreases their need to focus on choking hazards.

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.

CBS Early Show — Same Price, Smaller Product

One way that companies can reduce supply without customers realizing it is by changing the size of the packaging. This actually makes the per unit price higher, which matches with the theory of decreasing supply. This decrease in supply could come from changes in input prices or perhaps shifts in agricultural markets, like freezes in Florida and oranges.

The Daily Show — Wage Against the Machine

This video does a nice job of describing many of the economic arguments for and against raising the minimum wage in a comical way. The clip is a few years old, but it still does a nice job of discussing many of the common arguments. Note: the clip does include a supply and demand graph, but it labels supply and demand incorrectly! This is a good opportunity to discuss economic misconceptions, as well as the labor supply and labor demand curves.

Thanks to Rebecca Chambers for the clip and description!

Prison Break — What is Game Theory?

In the re-boot of Prison Break, we look at how game theory impacts the decisions made by Michael Scofield. It starts with the idea that players in the game are focused on self-interest even when it comes at the expense of other players in the game. The setup is described as a one-shot game where players focus on themselves with no future implications.

Big Bang Theory — Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock

Sheldon isn’t a fan of traditional rock, paper, scissors so he introduces a new variant of the game with two more options, which increases the number of possible outcomes. The guys decide to use RPSLS to solve their disagreements, but they seem to struggle with the notion of needing to have mixed strategies. While Spock is not a dominant strategy in this game, the others don’t seem to comprehend ways to beat the throw.

For more Big Bang Theory clips, check out Bazinganomics!

How I Met Your Mother — Past Ted’s Fault

In behavioral economics we begin to study why people procrastinate. If you are teaching Time inconsistency either in your behavioral section of microeconomics or in a full class on behavioral economics, this is a nice short clip to motivate discussion.

This clip and reference come from James Tierney!

Always Sunny — When is Stuff Art?

Frank convinces an art gallery director to come to the bar in order to try and convince her to buy their bad art. After looking around and watching a homemade video, she describes how art is worth what the buyer is willing to pay and that everyone has different preferences and values items differently. She also discusses the double coincidence of wants and how she no longer wants to buy back Frank’s painting.

Thank you to Ian Pearson for the clip reference!

Always Sunny — Monopolizing the Trash Industry

When the local garbage companies go on strike, Frank comes up with a plan to have Charlie, Mac, and Dennis go around and pick up trash. Initially they are slated to get a van and go door-to-door, but they realize it may look better if they drive around in a limo to pick up the trash. What they don’t realize is that customers don’t really care because they just want the trash gone and are willing to pay high prices for it to be removed.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑