Chance the Rapper is grew up in Chicago, which is nicknamed “The Second City.” In honor of his hometown, Chance the Rapper (along with Kyle Mooney) shares some of his other favorite second-best items, which he considers better than the first. This is a fun introduction to substitutes, or even monopolistic competition and product differentiation. This could be used in an upper-level class to discuss ordinal preferences or transitivity.
When a loved one dies, and we are in a state of grief, we often aren’t making the most informed decisions. Funeral homes know this and use this fact to charge higher prices. They can do so because our price elasticity of demand for end life services is high. There are few reasons for this. First, there is not enough time to “shop around” for better pricing on the goods and services provided as a funeral is often expected to take place quickly after a person’s death. Second, there is high asymmetric information about exactly what is actually necessity and what is more a luxury (the clip pokes fun of this with the casket featuring WiFi). Last, there are no close substitutes for end of life services – you only have two options: burial or cremation. For these reasons, we are less sensitive to price when shopping for end of life services for our loved ones and will pay a higher prices consequently.’
Adam Ruins Everything is a half-hour informational comedy were host, Adam Conover, debunks popular myths. Each episode is divided into 3 segments with some common theme. In the Spring of 2018, James Tierney and I sat down to go through all three seasons of Adam Ruins Everything to pick out examples in each episode that could be used in an economics course. If you’re curious about the paper, you can read about it here.
The digital revolution can replace a lot of items that traditional paper was used for, liking color pages, sticky notes, books, or puzzles, but it can’t replace toilet paper. Substitute goods are at the discretion of the consumers with some items being “perfect substitutes” and others being some gradient of substitutes. Digital toilet paper isn’t a very good substitute for the real stuff.
Thanks to Dr. Michele Pickett for the clip!
Lil’ Dicky shows the process of trying to make the most epic rap video of all time, but without spending much money. The entire song looks at a variety of ways that Lil’ Dicky tries to save money and avoids spending money on unnecessary expenditures “just to flex.”
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!
I reached out to #EconTwitter and asked what songs they like to use to teach different topics in their classes and the results did not disappoint:
I need some help #teachEcon! What's your favorite song(s) to play for class that's associated with economics topics you're teaching that lesson?
— Jadrian Wooten (@Wootenomics) August 15, 2018
Travis didn’t hesitate to reach out and suggest this catchy song about two popular snacks that they enjoy eating. The first question that comes to mind is if the two snacks are complements or substitutes for one another, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a combination bag from Frito-Lay soon.
Thanks to Travis Roach for the song suggestion.
Sheldon weighs the pros and cons of buying one gaming system over the other. He quickly realizes that whichever system he buys means that he won’t be able to get the other system. The opportunity cost of a decision is the value of the next best alternative, but sometimes when two items are closely related it means the buyer may have some buyer’s remorse from selecting the wrong item.
Homer forgets its Valentine’s Day so he has to rush off to the Kwik-E-Mart to pick up a last minute gift. Seeing that Home is desperate, Apu takes the chance to raise the price on a box of chocolates to $100. Despite Homer’s annoyance, he pays the higher price because he knows he’ll be in trouble if he comes back empty handed. After threatening never to shop their again, Apu offers him a discount on other products to keep him from shopping next door.
Homer finds great success in operating a snow plow business, but his success is short-lived. Because of the ease of entry into the market, competition quickly eliminates his profits and he finds that competition isn’t as friendly as expected.