Brooklyn 99 — Boyle Can’t Quit

 

Boyle’s new food truck isn’t going well at all. He’s losing a lot of money and he can’t seem to change things around. Jake suggests Boyle does what he’s good at and just quits, suggesting that Boyle’s the average price Boyle charges for food is below even his average variable costs. Boyle took out a huge loan and he needs to help pay it back, which may mean that his prices are between the average fixed and average variable costs, in which case he should keep producing even though he’s losing money.

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.

A League of Their Own

 

Dottie decides to quit right before the World Series, and her coach isn’t too happy about it. One of the most salient topics taught in a section on behavioral economics is the idea of ignoring sunk costs. When things get boring or tough, a rational agent may decide to quit. Dugan believes that baseball is a great separating equilibrium and that it shows who’s tough and who isn’t. If baseball were an easy game then the it wouldn’t be a beneficial signal to everyone watching.

Thanks to Jose Fernandez for the reference!

Chris Rock — Break Up

Chris Rock discusses his recent divorces and encourages couples in love to make sure they hold tight to one another. He does warn that if you’re thinking about leaving then you should probably leave immediately, perhaps after the show. A lot of people stay in relationships they don’t like being in because they’ve been together for so long, but that’s just irrational!

King of Queens — A Wasted Tombstone

Arthur bought a tombstone a while back in order to save money and the salesman assured him that he would most likely be dead by 2000, so he pre-printed the “19” on the tombstone so that they would only have to fill out the end of the year. Fast forward to 1999 and Arthur finds out he has 8 months to die or else his tombstone will go to waste. This clip is a succinct enough clip to teach about sunk costs since the price of the tombstone has already been paid and Arthur wouldn’t be able to get his money back.

Ryan Hamilton — Canceling a Gym Membership

Ryan goes through the steps he had to complete in order to cancel his gym membership. By requiring all of the additional steps to opt out of the membership, it decreases the likelihood that individuals will actually cancel their membership and instead pay the monthly fee despite not wanting the service. Ryan even discusses how he’s fallen victim to the sunk cost fallacy because he walked by his gym on the way to purchase envelopes for the letter, but he was already “in too deep” to stop by and cancel in person.

Brad Paisley — I’m Gonna Miss Her

 

The song is about a guy that chose to go fishing instead of staying with his wife. It shows opportunity costs because he could either choose fishing where he didn’t know if he would catch anything or stay with his wife which could have been the best thing for him.

Thanks for the summary and the clip Aaron Wolfe! If you’d like to see more country music videos that have economic themes, check out Econ Gone Country.

Superstore — Non-refundable Movie Ticket

Glenn wanted to see Saw because he thought it was about carpentry, but he quickly realized it was a horror movie. He wasn’t having a good time and even threw up in his lap, but his wife didn’t want to leave because they paid for the ticket and it was date night. Glenn and his wife should have left if they weren’t enjoying their movie since the tickets were non-refundable, but like many people, Glenn and his wife fell for the sunk cost fallacy.

Wanda Sykes — Wanda’s Got a Gun

Wanda moved to New York and her family told her to go out and a buy a particular type of gun, one that would end up costing her $400. Falling victim to the sunk cost fallacy, Wanda feels like if she spends $400 on a gun then she needs to make sure that it gets used, even if it means using it on friends that she invites over.

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