If you’re teaching the sunk cost fallacy, this clip from Better Call Saul can be used to define the term. Kim tries to convince Jimmy to keep being a lawyer because of how much time and effort he put into the bar exam. Jimmy cuts her off to teach her about the sunk cost fallacy and how it’s a waste of time.
If you’re teaching opportunity cost, this is a great clip to show the value of time. Homer waits in line 8 days to grab a coveted ticket to an event. A passerby accurately notes that the Homer could have just purchased the ticket with the money he would have earned from working.
The following scene has a nice clip that can be used to talk about efficiency and equity.
Howard (Arnold Schwarzenegger) tries to get a coveted TurboMan action figure doll the day before Christmas. It’s only the hottest selling toy of the season, so everyone is in a rush to grab this item. Because prices aren’t (initially) adjusting in their usual way, a shortage occurs across the entire city.
A limited shipment of Turbo Man action figures does arrive at one store, which decides to allocate the doll through a lottery system. Whenever there are shortages in markets, there may be a misallocation of consumption, particularly when items are distributed randomly rather than to the consumers with the highest willingness to pay. Even the though the price of the doll increases by 100%, there doesn’t appear to be any change in the quantity that people want to purchase. This would imply that the demand for TurboMan action figures is very inelastic.
This is a little NSFW and has some mild language, but it illustrates tradeoffs really well. This is the End is a movie about actors playing fictionalized versions of themselves in an apocalypse. In this season, the actors are trying to decide how to divide their stockpile.
I use this clip in a couple of different ways. One of the weirder demand shifters is the idea that tastes and preferences can shift the demand curve. This commercial from AT&T is a great example of that concept: “you really like it, you want more.” The preference shifter is that you’ll consume more (demand increases) when you start liking things and then you’ll consume less (demand decreases) when you don’t like things anymore. I also use it a bit in my upper-level course when I get to the idea of indifference curves being mapped in a good-good space.