Tag Archives: Seinfeld

Cash is a rational birthday present but inappropriate

Here is a clip from Seinfeld that I use when teaching Behavioural Economics. It seems rational that Jerry gives Elaine $182 for her birthday but it really is inappropriate. Cash replaces social norms by market norms and ruins the feelings usually evoked by a typical non-cash birthday gift. The deadweight loss of giving is the loss of efficiency that occurs when the value of the gift to the recipient is less than the cost of the gift to the giver. In this case, economists argue that cash would be a more efficient gift.

Economics of Seinfeld – Moral Hazard and Imperfect Information

Here is another clip from Seinfeld which is an example of moral hazard and imperfect information.

Jerry’s car is stolen, so he rents a car. The rental company doesn’t give him the car he reserved; he gets a small economy car. They ask if he wants insurance, and he replies, “Yes, because I’m going to beat the hell out of this car.” Source: Seinfeld Economics

Externalities: Kramer’s Welfare

From The Economics of Seinfeld website. Useful look at externalities and cost-benefit analysis.

A Kenny Rogers Roaster restaurant opens across the street from Kramer. He can’t stand the red glare from Kenny’s neon sign, and moves into Jerry’s apartment. But he becomes hooked on Kenny’s chicken, and eventually accepts the red glare in exchange for access to the chicken. When Kenny’s shuts down, the lights go out, and Kramer’s overall welfare falls—the benefits of the chicken outweighed the cost of the glare.