Econ in the News: Pop Culture Economics

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A wonderful example of high demand and asymmetric information

I’ve spent a lot of time talking about my two internships this summer, but I actually have a third job that I’ve been putting some time and effort into as well. I’m working with Professor Melanie Morten to redesign her pedagogical methods in ECON1 by using pop culture references to teach foundational economic concepts.

My task is to find sources that my fellow peers would enjoy in class. To that end, I’m curating a variety of clips to show over the course of a quarter from a wide range of pop culture.

Tiana, the protagonist of Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, demonstrates intertemporal consumption habits by her steadfast saving habits. Another princess (turned Queen), Elsa from Frozen, accidentally forces a shopkeeper to have a “Big Summer Blowout” when huge winter storms lead to a sharp leftward shift in demand for summer items. From Pixar, the Incredibles demonstrate the pros and cons of having superheros as a public good.

There are tons of references to sort through, from memes (Futurama’s “shut up and take my money!”) and satire (the Onion has yielded several wonderful examples) to hit TV shows like Game of Thrones, Survivor, and The Office. I love having the chance to not only earn some extra cash this summer, but also apply my Economics and Education backgrounds towards something that can really make a difference in the education of future Stanford students (and potential Econ majors).

Thus concludes my 50th post! I’ve really enjoyed getting to elucidate my thoughts on my website; here’s to many more posts.

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