Kim’s Convenience — Driving vs. Baking

Appa has made a collection of baked goods but his wife thinks she could do it better. In an earlier scene, Umma damages a friend’s car and made offered to pay for half the cost of repairing the damage. Her husband is disappointed because he feels he could have saved them a lot of money. Umma lets him know that’s why she isn’t a millionaire, but at least she’s a better baker.

Thanks to John Kruggel for the clip submission.

Adam Ruins Manufacturing

A lot of the recent discussion on the manufacturing industry has framed the loss of employment as a reduction in manufacturing capacity. The US manufactures more physical goods than ever, but it’s using labor as the primary input. In this segment of Adam Ruins Everything, we meet Hank who has recently been laid off from his job at the factory. In an earlier segment, Hank and Adam discuss major economic measures like GDP and Unemployment. In this segment, they discuss some of the misperceptions about manufacturing.

Adam Ruins Everything is a half-hour informational comedy where host, Adam Conover, debunks popular myths. Each episode is divided into 3 segments with some common themes. 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.

In the Summer of 2020, the paper was officially published in The Journal of Economics and Finance Education, which you can read online.

Monty Python — Cheese Shop Sketch

One of the many benefits of international trade is increased product variety because countries can devote resources to the goods they have a comparative advantage in. Monty Python demonstrates what a world without trade would look like. After going through a list of a variety of different types of cheese (even cheddar!), but nothing is available. The finest cheese shop is at least clean!

Thanks to Rob Szarka for the clip suggestion on his Twitter account!

Construction Site in Thailand

 

A few years back there was a popular video of a human powered ferris wheel in India. I use that clip to talk about labor abundance in the Heckscher–Ohlin model of trade since India is so labor-abundant. Earlier we came across this fantastic video of a construction site in Thailand (another labor rich country). For small construction jobs, the workers will use manpower (literally) instead of machines to drive piles into the ground.  This clip could also be used in a labor economics setting if you’re talking about substitutes in production. Either way, this is a fun-video for class with a pretty nice beat from the tambourine-wielding foreman.

TED — How Containerization Shaped the Modern World

Sir Harold Evans, the author of They Made America, describes how the shipping container revolutions international trade and made it easier to ship products around the world. This TED Talk could be used when discussing comparative advantage and trade or even when thinking about factors that have led to the growth of countries.

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.

Bleacher Report — The Coach That Never Punts

 

At Pulaski Academy in Arkansas, Kevin Kelley’s team never punts because he opts for high risk decisions because the probabilities are in his favor. He doesn’t believe in taking the risk averse method and he also believes in focuses on his team’s comparative advantage instead of just doing the traditional method.

Project Runway — Specialization

James Tierney shared this great clip on his website a few years ago and it covers the idea of using Project Runway to discuss specialization and gains from trade. One of the contestants describes the process of designing the outfit line and discusses each member’s role in the creation of the outcome.

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