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Friday, December 7, 2012

ATTENTION All Holiday-Loving Econ Nerds!

Let me start by saying that I am an over-the-top holiday lover. I love every second from Thanksgiving to January 1. From the holiday-themed drinks at Starbucks to the cheesy Christmas music that plays over the speakers of every single store, I can’t get enough. But the best part is the plethora of holiday films that seem to play on repeat during the entire month of December. 
I am also a bit of an econ nerd. So that means every time I turn on one of those movies I can’t help but think of all the economics themes running through their snow-covered storylines. Take my all-time favorite movie: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. (If you’ve never seen it, check out this 30-second clip to get the rundown.) 
At first glance, Rudolph is about a lovable-but-misunderstood reindeer that just wants to fit in. But because of his shiny nose, everyone rejects him.  Also in the lineup of rejected characters are Hermie, the elf that just wants to be a dentist, and the Abominable Snow Monster, whose great stature makes him scary to everyone 
But take a deeper look. It becomes clear that the entire movie is about the economic principle of subjective value. When there is a snowstorm and Santa needs to deliver his toys, Rudolph’s nose becomes valuable in guiding the way. Hermie’s dental skills become valuable when the characters need to stop the Snow Monster from attacking. And finally, the Abominable Snow Monster’s height is suddenly perfect when they need someone to put a star on the tree. Sounds like the “circumstances of time and place.” Does that ring any bells?
In the spirit of holiday-econ nerdiness, let's kick off the season right! What are some of your favorite holiday movies or songs that demonstrate economic principles? Submit a short paragraph in the comments about it and you could be featured on our blog this holiday season. 

  • Anna is currently the Educational Programs Manager at the Charles Koch Institute where she oversees KIP, KAP and experimental programs.