The Simpsons — 3 Kids & No Money

Homer laments of his problem of having no money and three children, but would instead prefer no kids and “3 money.” Kids, thankfully, cannot be used as money, but do represent a tradeoff in that parents could spend their money on other items instead.

Thanks to Nick Covington for the clip!

Narcos — Plato o Plomo

This scene from Narcos shows Pablo Escobar, infamous Columbian drug cartel leader, at the beginning of his career. Before he gets into drug running he smuggled stolen goods and jewels. He is attempting to cross a bridge with loads of merchandise when he stopped by the Columbian National Police (i.e. FBI).

It illustrates negative v. positive incentives. As the title of the clip implies, Pablo provides both incentives and lets the police chose. They let can let him through and he will reward them with stolen goods (plato aka silver) or they can try to stop him and he will kill them and their families (plomo aka lead).

You could also talk about the economic way of thinking from the point of view of the police. They had to weigh the benefits of a possible arrest and confiscation of the stolen goods against the cost of their lives and families lives. Ultimately, they decide the costs outweigh the benefits and let him through.

And then it could be used to talk about tradeoffs – when you choose one thing you are giving up another — so they chose to let him go, but that means they are letting him get away with criminal activity, forgoing the glory of arresting a high profile smuggling, doing something immoral, etc.

Thanks to Erin Yetter for the clip and the description! Check our her website as well.

The Big Bang Theory: Xbox 1 vs. Playstation 4


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.

Chris Young — Beer or Gasoline

Tradeoffs are one topic you can use this video for. With only $3 to his name, Chris needs to decide between a gallon of gas or a 6-pack of beer!

Thanks to James Tierney for the clip and description. For more country videos with economics, check out EconGoneCountry!

Ally Bank — Pony Commercial

This commercial is a great opening piece to talk about the differences between equity and efficiency. While both young girls are better off that before (efficiency improvements), they are not relatively better off because one is getting an actual pony (equity issues). One of the hard portions of this concept is to think about this issue as a true tradeoffs that efficiency gains often come at the cost of decreased equity. This increase in inequality between the two girls may be a nice, short way of demonstrating that tradeoff.

Stella Artois — The Race

Sometimes a good thing is too good to pass up. The young men could continue the big race or they could sacrifice their chance for a cold beer. They chose the latter.

Grey’s Anatomy — Who Should You Help?

Two victims of a train accident come into the emergency room with a pole going between both their stomachs. The team isn’t able to help one patient without causing potential injuries to the other patient. The doctors go back and forth about who to help and what to do. If they decide to help one patient, the other is sure to die. How do you decide who gets to live?

The Man Show — Toilet Money (NSFW)


In this clip from the Man Show, Adam and Jimmy prank bathroom visitors by pouring a beer in a toilet along with fake feces and a $20 bill. The hosts try to guess whether the visitors are willing to put their hand in the toilet for $20.

Thanks Matt Rousu for this clip!

Friends — The Job is in Paris

In the beginning of the clip Rachel tells Ross that she got her old job back at Ralph Lauren.  Ross asks if she is still going to take the job in Paris (which she was offered in the previous episode) since she was hired back at her old job.  Rachel says she still wants to go to Paris because when the people at Loui Vuitton found out Ralph Lauren wanted her back they decided to offer her more money.  This clip is a good example of opportunity cost, which is the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.  If Rachel wouldn’t have chosen, the job in Paris she would have been missing out on more money than if she would have stayed.  Since she is taking the job in Paris her opportunity cost is that she will have to leave her friends and family.

Thanks Kailey Werkheiser for the clip and the summary!

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