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Simpsonomics: Teaching Economics Using Episodes of The Simpsons


  • R. Andrew Luccasen
  • M. Kathleen Thomas


Undergraduate students are often interested in applications of economic principles. Although popular television shows and movies are not real-world examples, drawing from these sources can motivate disinterested students and provide a pedagogical tool that enhances instruction. In this article, the authors discuss several basic introductory economic principles that are illustrated by the television show The Simpsons. Topics include economic reasoning, opportunity cost, incentives, comparative advantage, declining marginal benefit, elasticity, externalities, free-riding, and game theory. The authors provide discussion questions and student worksheets that instructors can use in their own classes.

Suggested Citation

  • R. Andrew Luccasen & M. Kathleen Thomas, 2010. "Simpsonomics: Teaching Economics Using Episodes of The Simpsons," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(2), pages 136-149, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jeduce:v:41:y:2010:i:2:p:136-149 DOI: 10.1080/00220481003613847

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
    2. Manfred K÷nigstein, 2001. "Optimal Contracting With Boundedly Rational Agents," Homo Oeconomicus, Institute of SocioEconomics, vol. 18, pages 211-228.
    3. Vital Anderhub & Simon Gächter & Manfred Königstein, 2002. "Efficient Contracting and Fair Play in a Simple Principal-Agent Experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 5(1), pages 5-27, June.
    4. Colin F. Camerer & Richard H. Thaler, 1995. "Anomalies: Ultimatums, Dictators and Manners," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 209-219, Spring.
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    Cited by:

    1. Scott A. Beaulier & Franklin G. Mixon & Richard J. Cebula, 2014. "Can't see the tacking for the trees? Try a Coasian solution," Chapters,in: New Developments in Economic Education, chapter 11, pages 126-132 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. repec:eee:ireced:v:25:y:2017:i:c:p:1-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Marta Podemska-Mikluch & Darwyyn Deyo & David T. Mitchell, 2016. "Public Choice Lessons from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter," Journal of Private Enterprise, The Association of Private Enterprise Education, vol. 31(Spring 20), pages 57-69.

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