Freakonomics — What’s in a name?

 

A summary of the labor market impacts for naming children with “distinctively black names.” Researchers conduct resume studies in Chicago and Boston to determine the frequency of callbacks for two identical employees with different-sounding names. This subtle form of discrimination lengthens the spells of unemployment and creates a gap between white and black workers. Not hiring a worker because an employed believes the applicant is African American is a form of employment discrimination.

The Pajama Game — 7 1/2 Cents

Asking for a raise is tough, but even a modest raise in wages can have a huge impact on worker salaries. In this scene from The Pajama Game, we see how a 7.5 cent raise can impact a worker’s wage. The cast goes through the calculations of what they could earn with additional income, including an automatic washing machine, a year supply of gasoline, and a vacuum cleaner.

Assessment idea: This is a neat opportunity to calculate real wages and see what 7.5 cents would be worth today versus 1953. The BLS has a calculator so you don’t have to wait!

Looking for more: Do you want to see more economics in Broadway shows? Check out BroadwayEconomics.com

Thanks to Mark Sammons from the University of Arizona for sending this clip in!

Sesame Street — Earning Money

Elmo wants to earn some money, but he isn’t exactly sure how. Luis offers him a chance to earn some money by helping him repair the ice cream machine.

Superstore — A Pharmacist’s Salary

Tate has no problem sharing his salary, but it’s unclear the main driver of the salary. In reality, salaries are comprised of a variety of skill and compensating differentials as well as potential efficiency payments. Tate has a doctorate of pharmacy, which should result in higher pay for human capital investments. In the clip above he mentions that people could die if he messes up, which probably adds a lot of pressure to his workday. This pressure could be a compensating differential that increases his pay. However, there’s also a chance he’s paid highly so that he doesn’t goof off, which would be an efficiency payment.

Rick and Morty — Devaluing the Intergalactic Currency

One of the main characters just changed the value of the international currency to be zero which has the effect of causing all money to be worthless. The clip focuses on the president of the galactic federation and his aides discussing what to do about the sudden lack of money when the aides realize that without any money they won’t get paid and that they refuse to work for nothing. The president comes up with a solution that involves blowing his brains out with a handy space pistol.

Thanks for the summary and clip Ben Kupp!

The Terminal — Quarters for Carts

 

In The Terminal, Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) is trapped in JFK airport when his visa is no longer valid because his country entered into a civil war. Stranded inside JFK, he has to figure out how to eat and sleep while his political situation is resolved. He quickly realizes that many people aren’t returning the luggage carts even though there is a 25 cent “reward.” He begins collecting carts around the airport in order to buy Burger King meals.

Reservoir Dogs — Why tip?

Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi) describes why he doesn’t tip waitresses. His associates try to convince him along an equity argument by saying it’s the right thing to do and how they are exploited because their tips are taxed. Mr. Pink argues from an efficiency standpoint that if the waitresses aren’t happy with their pay then they need to relocate. He eventually concedes to tip $1 when he’s reminded that he didn’t pay for his food.

Film: Reservoir Dogs

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