Homer Economicus: The Simpsons and Economics

Homer Economicus: The Simpsons and Economics

Joshua Hall

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 0804791716

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In Homer Economicus a cast of lively contributors takes a field trip to Springfield, where the Simpsons reveal that economics is everywhere. By exploring the hometown of television's first family, this book provides readers with the economic tools and insights to guide them at work, at home, and at the ballot box.

Since The Simpsons centers on the daily lives of the Simpson family and its colorful neighbors, three opening chapters focus on individual behavior and decision-making, introducing readers to the economic way of thinking about the world. Part II guides readers through six chapters on money, markets, and government. A third and final section discusses timely topics in applied microeconomics, including immigration, gambling, and health care as seen in The Simpsons. Reinforcing the nuts and bolts laid out in any principles text in an entertaining and culturally relevant way, this book is an excellent teaching resource that will also be at home on the bookshelf of an avid reader of pop economics.

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about how much to buy and sell across innumerable goods and services, a unit of account to facilitate comparison is crucial. If Milhouse became the juvey unit of account, people would reckon the values of other juvey goods and services in terms of him. A carton of cigarettes might be quoted at a price of 0.05 Milhouses. A prison tattoo might be quoted at a price of 0.65 Milhouses. If you wanted to bribe a guard to let you escape, the going rate might be 7 full Milhouses for such a risky task. Of

at the power plant, the Investorettes decide to compete with Marge for lunch sales. As often occurs, the entrance of the competitor substantially decreases the economic profit-earning ability of the first firm. If economic profits were to persist, we might see even more entrants to the market. If economic losses were to occur, we would likely see one or even both firms leave. The combination of competitive forces and low entry barriers tends to drive market participants toward normal returns over

Flanders receive. Public goods suffer from two problems: the free-rider problem and the tragedy of the commons.8 Individuals can free ride, that is, not pay for a good, and still enjoy the benefits of it, because they cannot be excluded from the consumption of it. When individuals cannot be excluded from the consumption of a good they did not pay for, the supply of the good will be smaller than what it otherwise would be. This is because producers will only provide a good if they can profit from

Consider a situation, however, in which the inherent usefulness of an item isn’t enough to justify the item’s price, but the transaction utility is high enough to cause the consumer to purchase the item.42 Unless the person really enjoys talking about how he got such a good deal on the item (which is admittedly a possibility), the transaction utility dissipates fairly quickly and leaves the consumer with a feeling of buyer’s remorse. When Patty and Selma are clipping coupons, for example, Patty

middle class was about $11,700 in 1990 but over $20,000 in 2009. In 2009, the range of the lower-middle and middle-class quintiles was $20,712 to $39,000 and $39,000 to $62,725, which compares to the 1990 values of $12,500 to $23,662 and $23,662 to $36,200. Being lower-middle class went from an $11,162 range in 1990 to an $18,288 range in 2009, while being middle class had a $12,538 range in 1990 and a $23,725 range in 2009. The lower-middle-class range expanded by 64 percent, while the

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