The Pajama Game — 7 1/2 Cents

Asking for a raise is tough, but even a modest raise in wages can have a huge impact on worker salaries. In this scene from The Pajama Game, we see how a 7.5 cent raise can impact a worker’s wage. The cast goes through the calculations of what they could earn with additional income, including an automatic washing machine, a year supply of gasoline, and a vacuum cleaner.

Assessment idea: This is a neat opportunity to calculate real wages and see what 7.5 cents would be worth today versus 1953. The BLS has a calculator so you don’t have to wait!

Looking for more: Do you want to see more economics in Broadway shows? Check out BroadwayEconomics.com

Thanks to Mark Sammons from the University of Arizona for sending this clip in!

South Park — Necessities & Substitutes

 

The economy of South Park has dwindled and Randy has some suggestions on they can survive the economy’s wrath. He recommends substituting many of their everyday items for cheaper alternatives, and returning back to the basics: water, bread, and margaritas. During recessions, income and wealth take a dip and people are unable to afford many of the items they may have once consumed. This shift allows for a discussion of inferior and normal goods.

Thanks to Zoe Cook-Nadel for the suggestion!

South Park — Spending and Debt

 

Stan gets a no-limit credit card and pays the debts for the citizens of South Park so that they can go out and begin shopping again, and stimulate the economy. The entire episode is themed around the crucifixion as Stan “pays for the debts” of everyone in town. Keynesian economics argues that governments can increase spending during times of recessions in order to help lift the economy out of recessions.

Thanks to Zoe Cook-Nadel for the suggestion!

South Park — Substituting Inferior Goods

 

Now that the South Park economy has dwindled, citizens are left to wonder why the economy has turned sour. Randy suggests a variety of methods of ways everyone can cut back. Without realizing it, he lists a variety of inferior goods for the citizens, which increase demand from decreases in income, like from a recession.

Thanks to Zoe Cook-Nadel for the suggestion!

South Park — Failing Economy

 

Stan’s dad discusses why he believes the economy in South Park is failing. Modeled after the Great Recession, Stan’s dad believes that too many people were buying unnecessary items on credit, but then not being able to pay for those items. Since times are tough, dinner isn’t exactly what the family is expecting. Even though his father believes people wasted a lot of money on things they don’t need, he proceeds to make himself a margarita using his newest blender.

Thanks to Zoe Cook-Nadel for the suggestion!

Superstore — Discounting the Lottery

Mateo and Cheyenne discuss what they would do if they won the lottery. The two list a variety of different items they would spend their money on after receiving their income boost. Unfortunately, Sandra tells them about the difference between an annuity and a lump sum payment.

Superstore — Winning the Lottery

What would you do if you won the lottery? This clip fits nicely with two different sections of an economics course. The first is how people respond to income increases in terms of purchasing normal goods or luxury goods. For labor economics, this discussion is a good segue to discussion how increases in income decrease the time people devote to work assuming leisure is a normal good.

Always Sunny — Circular Flow

Mac and Dennis come up with a plan to create Paddy’s Dollars in order to stimulate their bar’s revenues, but they have the system a bit backward. They decide to give away a bunch of vouchers that could be used to buy beer to local homeless people. Unfortunately, there’s no incentive for those individuals to come back and buy more Paddy’s Dollars later. This would also be a neat example when teaching circular flow diagrams.

The Barenaked Ladies — If I Had a Million Dollars

If you had a million dollars, what would you buy? A bunch of normal goods most likely or you may decrease the number of inferior goods. Ask you students to list off the things they would do with a million dollars and then have them identify whether the things they would change are normal or inferior goods.

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