Big Bang Theory — An (Un)Permitted Deck

 

Howard and Bernadette are bothered by their neighbor’s (Andy) new flood lights, which appears to look out over their backyard and right into the hot tub they have built. Andy doesn’t see the problem because his flood lights are in his backyard and provide him some sense of security, but they are a nuisance to Howard and Bernadette.

Instead of talking to their neighbors directly, like the Coase Theory would suggest, they head to the city zoning office to try and report the issue in the hopes that he has violated some city zoning ordinance. When they realize that will take too much time, they try to get Sheldon’s help, but Sheldon is cautious because Bernadette and Howard didn’t get permission to build their backyard deck, nor renovate their shower.

In Howard and Bernadette’s mind, government regulation should only be used for externalities. Their deck and bathroom aren’t affecting third parties so they don’t see the need to have them approved.

 

Axe Commercial

In this quick Axe commercial, we can observe both positive and negative externalities associated with cologne use. The original wearer didn’t realize the (good and bad) impact the second elevator guest would receive from his use of Axe Body Spray, and thus didn’t take that into account when he was applying it.

The Colbert Report: Evan Osnos & Cashmere

Evan Osnos discusses many of the externalities that arise from the increased production of Cashmere in China over the past decade. Osnos explains that cashmere goats in China have sharp hooves that tear up the landscape and create dust, which then travels to the United States and reduces air quality, particularly along the west coast. As cashmere consumption has increased, so has the pollution. Osnos refers to the “real costs” of cashmere items (such as a cashmere toilet seat cover that Colbert has) as including the health care costs for those affected by the dust.

Here’s a lesson plan from SERC:¬†https://serc.carleton.edu/econ/interactive/examples/43020.html

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