Best Microeconomics podcasts we could find (Updated October 2018)
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To renters, rent control is often seen as a very good thing. But cheap rents can actually cost a lot.Let’s take a look at the consequences of rent control in Mumbai, where many tenants are paying for their flats at 1940s rates. If a landlord receives a...
 
In game theory, the Nash equilibrium is a concept that can help you analyze the behavior and outcomes of two or more people in a non-cooperative situation. The Nash equilibrium means that no person has an incentive to change their behavior or strategy,...
 
When the price goes up, what happens to the quantity demanded? It goes down. And vice-versa. This is known as the law of demand. Pretty straightforward.What this law doesn’t cover is how much the quantity demanded goes up or down as prices change. This...
 
We live in a world of scarcity. In other words, what we want outweighs what we can attain. Why? Well, we have limited resources – money, options, time, etc. When you’re making choices about what to buy, your budget, the prices of goods and services, and...
 
Think about what restricts your choices when it comes to buying goods and services. Your income is one variable. Prices are another. What about what you like and don’t like? That’s an important one!Your preferences play a huge role in how you decide to...
 
Think through all of the variables that determine the price of a cup of coffee. It might help to imagine the coffee beans on the farm first. Consider the land costs and the price of the farmer’s labor. What about transportation of the beans to the...
 
Everyday, you make tons of decisions about consumption. Your choices about what and how much of a good to buy are influenced by the laws of supply and demand. These choices are nearly endless. For example, at Starbucks, each drink is highly customizable...
 
In our video on Maximizing Profit Under Monopoly, we cover how firms can use their market power to raise the price of a good well beyond its marginal cost. A practice question from the Microeconomics final exam asked you to find the total profit of a...
 
What’s the point of education?Do you learn about things, because the learning itself matters, or is education all about the signal you -- and your degree -- send out to the world? Is education really about building skills, or does it serve only to...
 
A signal is an action that reveals information. Let’s look at higher education, for example. A large fraction of the value you receive from your degree comes on the day you earn your diploma. Your expected wages don’t increase with each class you...
 
What are some solutions to moral hazard? We could try to make information less asymmetric — meaning both parties have similar information, making it harder for one party to exploit the other. We could also try to reduce the incentive of the agent to...
 
Imagine you take your car in to the shop for routine service and the mechanic says you need a number of repairs. Do you really need them? The mechanic certainly knows more about car repair than you do, but it’s hard to tell whether he’s correct or even...
 
In this video, we discuss asymmetric information, adverse selection, and propitious selection in relation to the market for health insurance. Health insurance consumers come in a range of health, but to insurance companies, everyone has the same average...
 
In this video, we take a look at common goods. Common resources are nonexcludable but rival. For instance, no one can be excluded from fishing for tuna, but they are rival — for every tuna caught, there is one less for everyone else. Nonexcludable but...
 
In this video we discuss club goods. Club goods are nonrival and excludable. For instance, HBO is a club good, as you need to pay a monthly fee to access HBO (excludable) but more viewers does not add to costs (nonrival). Entrepreneurs are always looking...
 
What do we mean by “nonexcludable” and “nonrival” when talking about public goods? Public goods challenge markets because it’s difficult to charge non-payers and it’s inefficient to exclude anyone — so, how do we produce them? Public goods provide an...
 
Since the passage of the Clean Air Act, SO2 emissions have decreased by 35%. Part of this is due to tradable allowances, which created a market solution to the external costs of SO2 emissions. In this video, we look at the lessons of tradable allowances...
 
Economics is much more than just numbers and graphs. In fact, we can use economics to explain much of what we encounter in our daily lives. For instance, why is customer service at your local restaurant usually better than that of the cable company? To...
 
George Akerlof, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, analyzed the theory of adverse selection – which occurs when an offer conveys negative information about what is being offered. In the market for used cars, Akerlof posited that sellers have more...
 
While the probability of an asteroid hitting the planet is very low, its effect would be disastrous for all of us. So, who should pay for asteroid protection? A good like asteroid defense — a public good, meaning it’s nonexcludable and nonrival — has...
 
Do unions raise wages for workers as a whole? If not, can unions raise the wages of some workers? The answer is, well, it depends. Unions have the ability to restrict the supply of labor to a job, which can increase wages for some workers. However,...
 
Firms have an incentive to increase job safety, because then they can lower wages. In this video, we explore this surprising claim in much greater depth. Bear in mind that wages adjust until jobs requiring a similar level of skill have similar...
 
Wages in America differ greatly among workers. Why is that? One reason includes differences in human capital — tools of the mind. Education is one of the biggest investments people make to increase their human capital. Which college majors offer the...
 
In this video on the marginal product of labor, we discuss some commons questions such as: How are wages determined? Why do most Americans earn so much by global standards? What exactly is meant by ‘human capital’? Do labor unions help workers, and if so...
 
If you had to choose, would you rather be a sewer inspector spending your days underground or a lifeguard on the beach? Most would say that being a lifeguard is a more fun job, but a sewer inspector has higher wages to compensate for the less-fun aspects...
 
Bundling refers to when two or more goods are sold together as a package. Microsoft Office, Cable TV, Lexis-Nexis, and Spotify all provide examples of bundling. What if there was no bundling and you had to pay for Cable TV by channel rather than...
 
What is tying and how is this a form of price discrimination? An example of a tied good is an HP printer and the HP ink you need for that printer. The printer (the base good) is often relatively cheap whereas the ink (the variable good) has a high markup...
 
Now that we’ve learned a little about price discrimination, we can begin to think about whether or not price discrimination is bad for society. How does price discrimination affect output, and what is this effect on social welfare? If price...
 
Price discrimination is common: movie theaters charge seniors less money than they charge young adults. Computer software companies sell to businesses and students at different rates, often offering discounts to students. These price differences reflect...
 
In this video, we explore the costs and benefits of monopolies. We cover how monopolies and patents breed deadweight loss, market inefficiencies, and corruption.But we also look at what would happen if we eliminated patents for industries with high R...
 
Ever wonder why pharmaceuticals are so expensive? In this video, we show how low elasticity of demand results in monopoly markups. This is especially the case with goods that involve the “you can’t take it with you” effect (for example, people with...
 
AIDS has killed more than 36 million people worldwide. There are drugs available to treat AIDS, but the price of one pill is incredibly high in the U.S. — coming in at 25 times higher than its cost. Why is that? In this video, we show how patent rights...
 
Why are price signals and market competition so important to a market economy? When prices accurately signal costs and benefits and markets are competitive, the Invisible Hand ensures that costs are minimized and production is maximized. If these...
 
This section connects several ideas covered in previous videos about the price system and profit maximization. In this video, we begin to understand two basic functions of the Invisible Hand. In competitive markets, the market price (with the help of the...
 
In this video, we talk about the special case of the decreasing cost industry. As output increases, costs will continue to fall, and more firms will enter which, again, increases output. It’s a virtuous circle!At the end of this video, we review the...
 
Some industries have a flat supply curve. These are called constant cost industries. Take domain name registration: to increase the supply of domain names, we must only increase the inputs by a negligible amount. That is why even as the Internet expands...
 
We understand cost curves and entry and entry/exit decisions. Now we are going to explore how each firm’s decisions influence the supply curve. Here’s the key question: As industry output increases, what happens to costs? We look at three options: an...
 
Being able to predict your company’s profit is a very useful tool. In this video, we introduce the third concept you need to maximize profit — average cost. When looked at in conjunction with the marginal revenue and marginal cost, the average cost curve...
 
A company in a competitive environment does not control prices. So the key to maximizing profit is choosing how much to produce. To do that, we need to factor in the costs involved in production. So what exactly are the costs? How do these costs...
 
How does a company really behave? We tend to assume profit — the bottom line — is the main motivation for a firm’s actions. For most firms most of the time, this is a good assumption, especially in a competitive market. With this video, you will explore...
 
In an effort to reduce pollution, the government tried two policy prescriptions under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. The first—command and control—mandated that each power plant lower its pollution by a determined amount. However, different firms...
 
In this video, we show how bees and pollination demonstrate the Coase Theorem in action: when transaction costs are low and property rights are clearly defined, private arrangements ensure that the market works even when there are externalities. Under...
 
What happened to the cleanliness of your clothes after the U.S. Department of Energy issued new washing machine requirements? The requirements — which require washers to use 20% less energy — mean that washers actually clean clothes less than they used...
 
What can the flu teach us about economics and externalities? In this video, we go over how vaccines produce positive externalities that help people stay healthy. When someone receives the vaccine, they pass along the positive benefits of the vaccine to...
 
What are externalities and what are the different kinds of costs? And what does this have to do with the rise of “superbugs"? This video is an introduction to externalities, including the concepts of private cost, external cost, and social cost. Using...
 
In this video, we discuss some of the most common arguments against international trade. Does trade harm workers by reducing the number of jobs in the U.S.? Is it wrong to trade with countries that use child labor? Is it important to keep a certain...
 
We’ll look at the costs and consequences of tariffs, quotas, and protectionism. How do tariffs affect consumers? What about producers? Who wins and who loses? Find out with this video.We’ll apply the fundamentals we learned in the supply, demand, and...
 
Make sure you’ve completed the homework introduced in the Comparative Advantage video before you watch this video, as we’ll be going over the answer. We take a look at our example which compares shirt and computer production and consumption in Mexico and...
 
Comparative advantage explains why people trade and what goods they should trade. To illustrate the concept of comparative advantage, we ask: Should Martha Stewart iron her own shirts? Even if Martha Stewart has an absolute advantage in ironing shirts,...
 
What is comparative advantage? And why is it important to trade? This video guides us through a specific example surrounding Tasmania — an island off the coast of Australia that experienced the miracle of growth in reverse. Through this example we show...
 
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