Brooklyn 99 — Moneyball

Captain Holt and Lieutenant Jeffords want to streamline the department and improve efficiency across the precinct. Jeffords is concerned that Capt. Holt is getting to greedy and can’t make many more improvements, but Capt. Holt believes he’s taking a Moneyball approach to the department. The film is his favorite and he finds the statistical analysis beautiful.

While he may be improving efficiency through his new statistical approach, the two should be concerned about diminishing returns. Productivity can increase with revised strategies, but additional productivity may require a significant increase in cost. In order to determine the optimal outcome, the two should focus on marginal analysis.

Brooklyn 99 — Cluttered Work Area

 

This clip deals with diminishing marginal productivity of labor. An influx of uniformed officers from another floor of the precinct has led the precinct to become a cramped pigsty, and there is not enough space for each of the workers (“too many cooks in the kitchen”). The detectives now have to spend time organizing the precinct instead of investigating their cases; due to overcrowding, the productivity of the precinct has declined from an additional unit of labor, rather than increased.

Submission and description submitted by Melissa Paton

Pixar — Purl

The video shows how an investment in human capital and diversity can provide significant increases in productivity.  Allowing employees to express their individuality brings new thoughts and ideas to the group. Without diversity, the company was trending down, when they embraced the balls of yarn it was trending up.  While it was easy to keep everyone and everything the same, the company was not making money.  By investing in a more diverse workforce, they were able to become profitable and a much more favorable place to work.  The opportunity costs are implied but they are that diversity can have real bottom line impacts.  In addition, diversifying your workforce can make you an employer of choice and allow you to hire more highly skilled employees.   Lastly, it shows that diversity allowed the male employees to be more free with who they were and thus helped the company become more successful.

I think this video applies to everyone from women to men.  Introverts to extroverts, it shows the benefits of staying true to who you are.  Additionally, it shows the benefits to companies by encouraging diversity.

Clip suggestion & description submitted by Keven Tarantino

Moneyball — What’s the Problem?

In Greg Mankiw’s favorite textbook (and one of the best-selling principles textbooks worldwide), he introduces students to the notion of “thinking like an economist.” Across the start of most economics textbooks exists a section about thinking strategically by using the notions of opportunity costs, scarcity, and rationality. Moneyball can be used as a starting point for discussing the assumptions of economic thinking.

In a scene from the movie, Billy Beane is seen in a boardroom full of scouts discussing replacing former players and evaluating potential draft picks. This scene serves as a great opening dialogue to economic issues of scarcity and rationality. While the A’s would like to keep Jeremy Giambi, they do not have enough space in their budget to keep him and must let him sign with other teams who are willing and able to pay more for his services. The resounding question that Beane poses to his scouts is a question that can be integrated throughout almost any economics course, “what’s the problem?”

Horrible Bosses 2 — Child Labor

 

Nick, Kurt, and Dale start up production on their new product, the Shower Buddy. After hiring some workers, they decide to hold a day where employees can bring their kids to work. It turns out that the kids actually started working on the factory floor and are enjoying it. At first blush, it seems like this shouldn’t be happening, but when Nick finds out how productive they have been, he walks away to change the sign instead.

Young Sheldon — 1989 Technology

Radio Shack was a huge part of Sheldon’s life because of all the great technology tools available. In this scene, Sheldon describes the benefits of having a new computer and tries to convince his mom to purchase one so that they can be more productive. A computer costing $998 in 1989 would be equivalent to about $2000 in 2018 dollars. Sheldon is not initially successful in convincing his mom.

While some technology gains are productivity enhancing, at the end of this episode, we see that the gains aren’t the same for everyone.

Young Sheldon — Productivity and Technology

The Cooper Family decides to purchase a new computer after Sheldon convinces his mother about all the things it could do for the family. Sheldon shows his parents how their life is a bit easier because of the benefits of the computer. Not all of the members of the family experience the technology gains, but instead have gains in happiness.

NY Times — The 1998 NFL Draft: A Look Back at the Epic Ryan Leaf Bust

 

One of the struggles with hiring workers is evaluating talent, specifically for college athletes considering the NFL. In 1998, Ryan Leaf appeared to be the top college athlete even with some questionable character flaws. The Colts, instead, chose to select Peyton Manning with their first pick of the draft despite some criticism. Manning went on to be one of the winningest QBs in NFL history while Ryan Leaf is considered one of the biggest NFL busts in the history of the league. This clip from the New York Time’s Retro Reporting division revisits that controversial decision.

Tarzan — Strangers Like Me

Jane decides to help Tarzan increase is human capital by learning some new “human” skills. After learning these various skills, Tarzan should be much more productive.

Thanks for the clip recommendation  Courtney Conrad!

The Pursuit of Happyness — Cold Calling

In The Pursuit of Happyness, Chris (played by Will Smith) is cold calling potential clients in order to increase sales for his company. The salesman who creates the most new clients will be hired on, but because of his personal life he isn’t able to put in the same amount of time as his competitors. Chris discusses a variety of ways he saves time, including not hanging up the phone and not drinking water, each of which would cost him valuable time.

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