Erin Brockovich — Negotiating Damages

There appears to be a coverup of contamination of the local water supply by PG&E, but the impacts are becoming more visible. In this scene, Ed Masry meets with a PG&E lawyer to “negotiate” a settlement for damages causes by the contamination. While PG&E may not have believe their dumping was causing externalities, it appears that they may have imposed serious external costs on the region. One of the concerns of litigation of this sort involves determining the appropriate value of the reduced quality of life resulting from these external costs.

Thanks to Dawn Renninger for the clip suggestion!

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders — Negotiations

In this anime scene, Joseph teachers viewers how to haggle for sandwiches in a market. While shop owners may try to start with a high price for foreigners (perhaps as a price discrimination technique), requesting lower prices may help identify the sellers’ willingness to accept.  The benefit of trade and exchange is a mutual coincidence of wants. The two are able to find an acceptable trade, and thinks to the storyline, we can even calculate consumer and producer surplus!

Thanks to Lynne Tierney and Edison High School for submitting this! Lynne shared that a student in her class shared this video after going through a negotiation simulation.

Have Gun – Will Travel — Bitter Wine

 

Paladin is hired to settle an issue between a vineyard owner and a neighboring oilman. The smoke and runoff from the oil well are damaging the grapes of the award-winning vintner. This is a classic case of externalities and the Coase Theorem would suggest the two could meet and solve the problem on their own (if there were low transaction costs), but the Coase Theorem wasn’t written about until two years AFTER this episode aired.

Check out this Econlib post for more discussion. This clip, and a forthcoming working paper, was presented at the 2019 Southern Economics Association Annual Meetings by Jon Murphy and John Schuler.

Life in Pieces — Property Rights

 

Joan and John want to build a gazebo in their backyard, but it turns out the surveyors messed up the property lines and part of what they believed was their property actually belonged to their neighbors, Daryl and Pam. The easiest solution is to ask the neighbors for an easement, which would allow them to take over a portion of their property. The neighbors try to bargain and offer a price of $5000, but it seems past bad blood makes the exchange more difficult.

Superstore — Negotiating for Higher Wages

Amy wants to ask her boss for a raise, but she’s nervous. Jonah attempts to encourage her to fight for a higher wage because a portion of the wage gap is partly due to women being socialized that negotiating isn’t in their favor. Amy isn’t in the mood for his lecture, and Jonah gives up.

NPR Planet Money — The Price Tag Hasn’t Always Existed

 

Really neat summary of the history of the price tag. This could make a great opening for a principles course or a good example of price discrimination before the price tag was invented. The price tag can be used as an example of the Quaker’s insistence on the law of one price or the idea of efficiency/equity tradeoffs. I like to use this video in the beginning of my course to introduce the idea of prices, values, and costs.

Always Sunny — Mac and Charlie Get a Job

 

After Dee has a heart attack and finds out she doesn’t have health insurance, Mac and Charlie go on a quest to get a job that includes healthcare benefits. They decide to apply to a job together, but since they only care about the healthcare part of the job, they end up accepting a minimum wage job.

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!

Real Husbands of Hollywood — Kevin Needs His Sneakers

Kevin needs to get a pair of sneakers for his son, but only Nick has any around. Even though he hates Nick, he feels like he needs to pay big money in order to secure a pair for his son. By choosing to limit the number of shoes available, a shortage exists for the sneakers. Only toward the end do we learn that a black market dealer may have access to another pair of shoes.

Thanks to Ryan Welch for the clip!

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