In Pretty Woman, Edward is really interested Vivian and makes a business proposition for her to spend a week with him. He offers to hire her as his companion. During the negotiation process, they attempt to settle on a price. They agree on a price of $3000, but at the end of the clip she admits to Edward that she would have stayed for $2000 (implying she has now earned $1000 of producer surplus), but Edward reveals he would have actually paid her $4000 (implying his consumer surplus is also $1000).
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.
Chris Rock explains on Weekend Update how a minimum wage (a price floor) is above equilibrium wage. Firms may want to pay lower wages, but an effective price floor is one that is set above the equilibrium such that firms aren’t able to pay the lower wages. Thanks to Jodie Beggs for finding the Jeopardy reference that led me to finding this video.
This is just a small clip of Stephen Colbert’s interview with Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick. This portion discusses surge pricing and how drivers respond to increases in demand. This clip also opens the door for discussions on efficiency vs equity.
Here’s a clip from Catch Me If You Can illustrating a few great supply curve principles, including reservation wage. This is the full scene, but you can clip it at 1:19 to show just the relevant parts.
Documentary about the many dangers lumberjacks face while doing their work. The impact of the technological advances of chainsaws over the last century in the lumber industry is also highlighted. Great discussion for capital/labor decisions plus scale/substitution effects when capital prices change.