Category Archives: EconPop

Finding the economics in popular culture, then making it hilarious.

EconPop: Castaway

  Castaway is the heart-warming story about a dedicated FedEx employee striving against all odds to ultimately deliver his packages and finish his assignment, even after getting marooned on an island for several years. It also features the brilliant Morgan Friedman as “Wilson the volleyball.” In this episode of EconPop we discuss: specialization. &nbspAndrew Heaton read more »

EconPop: The Shawshank Redemption

  This is one of the funniest episodes of EconPop, in my opinion, because of the frequent asides to my time in prison. But we also cover economics, too: specifically trade. Trade is good. Prison is bad. &nbspAndrew Heaton is a writer and standup comedian in New York City. If this post made you laugh read more »

EconPop: The Hudsucker Proxy

  In this episode of EconPop we tackle The Hudsucker Proxy, to investigate how supply and demand work, and why a minimum wage isn’t necessarily a good thing. I also spend a decent amount of time explaining why me being suspicious of the minimum wage does not automatically mean that I am an evil plutocrat. read more »

EconPop: Robocop

  Robocop is a timeless film (mostly based off of Shakespeare) which covers essential economic questions like, “What is a public good?” and “Who better delivers public goods, the private sector or the government?” and “Wouldn’t it be cool if a robot cop could kill a bunch of bad guys and walk through explosions and read more »

EconPop: It’s A Wonderful Life

In this yuletide edition of EconPop I do a spot-on Jimmy Stewart impression, explain banking and loans, then how the concept of moral hazard leads to robbing liquor stores. If you spent your entire childhood watching this film every Christmas like clockwork, and your parents are bankers but you never have anything to talk to read more »

EconPop: The Treasure of the Sierre Madre

  In this installment of EconPop we delve into The Treasure of the Sierre Madre, starring Humphrey Bogart. The film is worth watching for two reasons: first, Humphey Bogart goes on a psychotic homicidal rampage, which is funny to watch if the only film you’ve otherwise seen him in is Casablanca. There’s also an old-timey prospector character read more »

The Economics of Elysium

  I love cyborg movies, particularly if they’re in space. But Elysium is the first science fiction film I’ve seen where the economics is less believable than the footage of robots battling to the death. In this episode of EconPop we cover income inequality, the fallacy Zero Sum Game thinking, why Malthus was wrong, and read more »

EconPop: Back to School

School is back in session! Time for good ‘ol professor Heaton to don a cap and elbow patches and use the film Back to School, starring Rodney Dangerfield, to explain the value of education in terms of human capital, how signalling works, and then as per usual slather as many jokes over the analysis as is read more »

The Economics of The Lego Movie

  If you like Legos and hate communism, you should watch me explain the economics of The Lego Movie. The film itself is fun and hilarious, but also allows us to explore the differences between a command economy (think the Soviet Union or Nazis) against a free market where everyone pursues their own agenda. The read more »

The Economics of Wall-E

  Wall-E is one of my favorite romantic comedies. I like pretty much any movie which involves robots, but on top of the cute cybernetic characters it’s also a brilliant film. It’s visually stunning, and for some reason Pixar characters can really ham up emotions without irritating me, so that it tugs on the ‘ol read more »

The Economics of Ghostbusters

In my favorite episode of EconPop so far, the green screen experts over at Emergent Order productions manage to insert me into Ghostbusters, one of my all-time favorite films. This might be the closest I ever come to acting alongside Bill Murray. After injecting some funny lines into the 1980’s classic, we move onto the underlying read more »

The Economics of House of Cards

My God I love House of Cards. Washington intrigue, scheming, public choice theory–it’s got everything. My one major criticism of the series is that I think it gives politicians too much credit for competency in general. Very few of them are as evil and conniving as Frank Underwood, but then not many are as effectual, read more »

The Economics of Dallas Buyers Club

Recently a badass film company in Austin, called Emergent Order, asked me to host EconPop: a webseries about finding the economics in popular culture, then making it funny. I have a blast making these, and look forward to finding more. In our inaugural episode we explore Dallas Buyers Club. It’s no small feat to make AIDS and read more »