CNN — Man Loses Life Savings On Carnival Game

Henry Gribbohm lost a few hundred dollars trying to play a carnival game to win an Xbox, but then went home to get his life savings, $2,600, which he then proceeded to spend at the carnival game. Gribbohm claims the game is rigged, but he did walk away with a giant banana with dreadlocks. While humorous at first, it does paint a picture of financial literacy should be an important component of secondary education.

Thanks to Tammy Batson for the suggestion!

Star Trek TNG — Data Overanalyzes

 

Data is trying to formulate a battle plan for Commander Riker, but he’s assuming that Commander Riker is rational and knows that Data has analyzed his move. Data takes it a step further and hypothesizes that Commander Riker knows that Data knows that the commander has a battle plan. Full information is a tough assumption about rationality, but bounded rationality lets us assume that people have limitations but still respond to incentives in a predictable way. While perhaps a human failure, most of society does not operate on the same level as Data.

Thanks to Peter Nencka for the clip suggestion!

Brooklyn 99 — Gift Giving Externalities

 

Charles and Gina have been secretly hooking up  for a while, but now their parents have decided to start dating and it’s freaking the two of them out. Charles rushes to the office to show Gina a gift that his dad is planning to give Gina’s mom. At first the two are scared of the repercussions to their lives if their parents start dating, but quickly realize that the planned gift is much worse for their parents than for them. Gina also goes through her process of unwrapping gifts before the actual reveal because she doesn’t want to get surprised in photos. Her risk aversion results in lots of time spent to avoid embarrassment.

Kyle — Playinwitme feat. Kehlani

One of the fun topics of decision making is to ask students if they have ever been stuck in a relationship they weren’t happy with, but they continued dating that person anyway. The most common response to why this occurs is that the students have invested a lot of time in the relationship and they don’t want to see it wasted. This example is an introduction to the irrational decision making people often go through because of their resiliancy to focus on sunk costs when they should be ignored. Kyle and Kehlani’s new song goes through the same tough decision because both feel like they’re being played with. Kyle and Kehlani both ask:

Girl, why are you playin’ with me?
I don’t got the time for that
Might need me a refund, haha
I’ma need that time back

Since neither can get their time back, if they are unhappy or anticipate being unhappy in the future, they should rationally move on from each other.

I like to use Old Domion’s song, Break Up With Him for the same lesson as well.

One Day at a Time — Risk Aversion

Penelope wakes up from a bad, but her mother is there to comfort her. After a second, Penelope notices that her mom has makeup on despite being asleep. Her mother tells her that she goes through the process of putting makeup on each night just in case she wakes up and meets someone or if she dies in her sleep. In this context, Penelope’s mom is risk averse and undergoes a lot of costs each night “just in case.”

Thanks to Khalaf Alshammari for the clip!

Impractical Jokes — Auction House Meltdown

The endowment effect in economics is a powerful explainer for irrationality. When people own something, they are often not willing to release an item even when someone is willing to pay more than it’s valued at. One of the famous examples is the coffee mug experiment. In this episode of Impractical Jokers, the guys head to an auction house and have one of them act like a remorseful seller who isn’t ready to part with their belongings. After pissing off the auction house members, the joker isn’t willing to buy his own tires back, which his friends submit to the auction house.

Thanks to Alyssa Lampros for the submission!

Life in Pieces — Coupons as gifts

Matt isn’t the best at giving gifts and he’s realizing that this year. Matt gives his wife a homemade coupon book that she decides to finally cash in to show him how awful the gifts are. After a while he doesn’t work as hard, but then at family dinner he finds out that no one really appreciates his gifts because it doesn’t seem like he puts much thought into them. There is a small line about positive externalities because Jen got a flu shot for her birthday once, which her husbands announces was “the gift that keeps on giving.”

Life in pieces also has another great clip on opportunity cost that’s worth checking out!

TED-ED: Why incompetent people think they’re amazing

 

The Dunning-Kruger effect is an interesting psychological theory that looks at why novices tend to overrate their abilities and even rate themselves on par with experts. This mindset has real implications for decision making because overconfidence made lead us to make suboptimal choices.

Young Sheldon — Go for it!

Young Sheldon teaches his family about the statistics behind going for it on 4th down. A lot of football fans believe you just have to punt, but studies by economists like David Romer show that it’s often better to go for it on 4th down than to punt. The famous Pulaski Academy coach who never punts became a bit hit after being interviewed by ESPN. The NY Times even created a Twitter bot that would tweet about whether teams should punt or go for it and the bot tweets during NFL games.

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