Adam Ruins Everything — Revealing Salaries

Adam Ruins Everything is a half-hour informational comedy were host, Adam Conover, debunks popular myths. Each episode is divided into 3 segments with some common theme. In the Spring of 2018, James Tierney and I sat down to go through all three seasons of Adam Ruins Everything to pick out examples in each episode that could be used in an economics course. If you’re curious about the paper, you can read about it here.

In this video, Adam goes through notion that sharing salaries is bad for workers, but focuses on how this practice creates information asymmetry in the workplace and gives managers the power to lower wages since workers aren’t well informed.

Good Will Hunting — Value of a Degree

In this iconic scene from Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon gets into a confrontation at a bar with an undergrad who is trying to embarrass his friend who is trying to impress a group of young women. In the process of humiliating the other student, the two get into a key distinction on the value of a college degree. Someone could obtain the same knowledge of a college degree from accessing a public library, but the lack of an actual degree (a signal perhaps) limits the job opportunities available for many.

Thanks to Charlie Clarke for the post!

Superstore — Union Scare

 

The team is trying to donate days off so Cheyenne can have her baby since Cloud 9 doesn’t offer maternity leave. Jonah finds out how much profit Cloud 9 made the year before and calls corporate with Amy to try and see if they can give Cheyenne maternity leave. At the mere mention of other company’s with unions having paid maternity leave, corporate sends a union buster to try and talk the store out of organizing.

Young Sheldon — Haggling Skills

 

Meemaw is having a garage sale and have asked Missy and George to help out. When George questions the pricing decisions of the junk for sale, Meemaw explains that she starts prices high so that people can negotiate and feel like they saved some money, which is another way of arguing that she’s trying to let the customers experience some consumer surplus. When Missy & George try to negotiate for better pay, they realize that it may not work out.

 

Seinfeld — Half a Can of Soda

 

Jerry is tired of how much food Kramer eats and doesn’t pay for, but Kramer has offered to keep a tab for himself and will write down every time he consumes something so he can pay Jerry back. Jerry discovers a half full can of soda in the fridge and asks Kramer if it’s his, but Kramer believes he can purchase just half a can of soda. Jerry has to explain to him that items like soda and fruit have to purchased in discrete units, not continuous units.

Thanks to Daniel Stone for the suggestion!

Superstore — A truck with no radio

 

Dina special-ordered a truck with no radio (even though it costs more) because she believes it will be less attractive to potential thieves. Assuming criminals are rational, a truck without a radio wouldn’t be worth the potential punishment of auto theft or larceny.

Sesame Street — Earning Money

Elmo wants to earn some money, but he isn’t exactly sure how. Luis offers him a chance to earn some money by helping him repair the ice cream machine.

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