Sherlock — Prisoner’s Dilemma

Sherlock works on a case involving missing women who recently arrived in London. It turns out that a taxi driver was abducting women and having them choose a poisonous pill to determine whether they lived or die. Eager for more excitement, the cabbie convinces Sherlock to play. Sherlock works through the process of trying to determine, by backward induction, which pill would be deadly.

He never finds out if he was right.

This clip was recommended by Christine Cai.

The Simpsons — Opportunity Cost of Lines

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.

If you love economics and The Simpsons, Josh Hall edited a book that may interest you.

New Girl – Douchebag Jar

Schmidt has a tendency to be a bit eccentric and bother his roommates with a variety of sayings/outfits. These outburst tend to annoy his roommates so they collectively agree to regular his behavior and force him to pay a tax to a “douchebag jar” when he does things the group considers unfavorable.

Friends — Efficiency vs. Equity of Splitting Meals

This great clip from Friends shows the equity/efficiency tradeoff nicely. It’s also a nice opportunity to bring up the idea of fairness. While splitting a check into equal parts is easier, it’s not always appropriate for people who don’t eat much.

Friends: They Don’t Know That We Know


When teaching game theory, we inevitably spill into the notion of complete information with they “they know we know” and “we know that they know we know.” Now you can have Friends do it for you:

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