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The Economics of Seinfeld

I think I will never tire of Seinfeld reruns. So I am delighted to discover a collection of Seinfeld clips which illustrate concepts in economics:

There are seven pages of clips. It’s hard to pick favorites, but here’s a few to give you a taste.

The Soup Nazi shows monopoly power and barriers to entry.

The Soup Nazi makes delicious soup—so good there's always a line outside his shop. He refuses service to Elaine, and by a stroke of luck she comes across his stash of soup recipes. She visits his shop and informs him that his soup monopoly is broken, while waving his recipes in his face. Also in this clip, George gets charged $2 for a roll that everyone else gets for free. This example of price discrimination shows that in order to charge different customers different prices, you must have market power.

The Big Salad highlights the concepts of altruism and utility:

At Elaine's request, George purchases a "big salad" for her from Monk's. When his girlfriend appears to take credit for this, George becomes obsessed over the issue. His altruism is not pure: George derives utility from the fact that the purchase is associated with his generosity.

The Parking Space shows abuse of common resources, non-excludable goods, property rights and rival goods.

George won't pay for a parking spot in a garage because he would rather find a public spot (nonexcludable) for free. George backs into a spot while another guy comes in headfirst, resulting in the question, “Who is entitled to the space?” Insecure property rights have led to overuse and conflict. George says, “I was here first.” The parking jam-up ruins street access for everyone else; everyone ends up fighting about property rights, even the police, who can't decide.

This site is going to be part of the NRR Introduction to Economics someday.

H/T: Division of Labour