30188hiseinfeld1Linda Ghent, Alan Grant and George Lesica, three Economics professors from the University of Illinois, created Economics of Seinfeld to encourage educators and learners to utilize pop culture when learning key economic principles.

I myself am a big proponent of using pop culture to help students understand concepts that might otherwise not relate to their lives. When I used to teach the Tempest and dealt with trying to explain the concept of “power struggles” to teenagers, I would play an episode of Tom and Jerry and have students discuss who had power in each scene. Something about using characters that students could relate to and bringing the subject into a real-world sphere did wonders for their understanding.

The website houses over 100 principles, each defined and then accompanied by a video clip of a Seinfeld episode that explains the concept in a real-world fashion. Each example includes a brief summary, a list of concepts that apply, a link or embedded video of the episode, and timings for clips that best explain the concepts.

For example, when trying to explain the concept of a price ceiling, you might use a clip from like this:

Jerry lives in a rent controlled building. The only time an apartment opens up is when Mrs. Hudwalker dies, because rent controls create immobility. Elaine and Jerry find out about the opening, and because Elaine happens to be first in line, she gets it for $400 per month. Subsequently, Jerry gets worried about having Elaine living so close, and tells Elaine that she can’t have the apartment–the super was offered a $5,000 bribe.

Additionally, the website is organized so that you can browse all of the episodes in alphabetical order, search for key concepts, or view an index of all the concepts that have been featured so far.

Happy Seinfeld-watching, y’all!


One thought on “The Economics of Seinfeld: Use Video Clips From The Sitcom To Explain Key Concepts

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