Walmart — Negotiations

Each year, children collect their trick-or-treat goodies and then go about trading their candy with each other. This scene from a 2019 Walmart commercial illustrates the concepts of gains from trade, bartering, and mutually beneficial transactions. Each child only trades an amount they are willing to give up and aren’t forced to trade with each other. After the exchange, both are better off than they were before the meeting.

Thanks to Brian Lynch for the recommendation!

Boss Baby — Gains from Trade

 

Tim doesn’t like green beans, but his baby brother sure loves them. Whenever the parents leave the kitchen, the boys realize there’s an opportunity for trade. The Boss Baby knows he needs a favor in exchange for eating his brother’s beans because he isn’t just giving away his services for free.

Thanks to Catherine Madrid for the reference!

Pretty Woman — A Week’s Worth of Time

In Pretty Woman, Edward is really interested Vivian and makes a business proposition for her to spend a week with him. He offers to hire her as his companion. During the negotiation process, they attempt to settle on a price. They agree on a price of $3000, but at the end of the clip she admits to Edward that she would have stayed for $2000 (implying she has now earned $1000 of producer surplus), but Edward reveals he would have actually paid her $4000 (implying his consumer surplus is also $1000).

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.

Just Go With It: Negotiation Scene

Maggie (Bailee Madison) negotiates a deal with Danny (Adam Sandler) when he asks her to act like his daughter. This scene does a great job opening a discussion for consumer/producer surplus in a principles class (or economic rent in a labor class).

How to Make Everything: A $1500 Sandwich in Only 6 Months

 

This is a great clip to talk about opportunity costs and gains from trade. The author goes through the process of making an entire chicken sandwich from scratch. I often open lecture asking students how much it would cost them if they did it themselves and then we watch this video.

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