Homer Economicus: The Simpsons and Economics

Homer Economicus: The Simpsons and Economics

Homer Economicus: The Simpsons and Economics

Homer Economicus: The Simpsons and Economics


In Homer Economicus a cast of lively contributors takes a field trip to Springfield, where the Simpsons reveal that economics is everywhere. By exploring the hometown of television's first family, this book provides readers with the economic tools and insights to guide them at work, at home, and at the ballot box.

Since The Simpsons centers on the daily lives of the Simpson family and its colorful neighbors, three opening chapters focus on individual behavior and decision-making, introducing readers to the economic way of thinking about the world. Part II guides readers through six chapters on money, markets, and government. A third and final section discusses timely topics in applied microeconomics, including immigration, gambling, and health care as seen in The Simpsons. Reinforcing the nuts and bolts laid out in any principles text in an entertaining and culturally relevant way, this book is an excellent teaching resource that will also be at home on the bookshelf of an avid reader of pop economics.


I was living in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, when I got my first taste of teaching economics. I was asked at the last second to fill in on a principles of economics section at a small university near my home called Capital University. Though I had been a teaching assistant for many classes while earning a masters degree in economics, I had never had complete control over the classroom. It seemed to me that there were two main questions I needed to answer: What did I want my students to learn? and Did I want to be a “guide on the side” or a “sage on the stage?”

Answering the first question was easy (and not just because I knew the name of the course!). Since my graduate school days, I had been concerned that we were going about teaching principles all wrong. Most people who take an economics course are never going to take another one in their lives. Knowing that, principles courses should not be focused on preparing students for advanced study of economics but instead giving them tools and insight that will help them at work, at home, and at the ballot box. My job as a teacher was to show them how economics explained the world around them, not just some lines on a chalkboard. the bigger question was how to do it.

While the first couple of days convinced me that I preferred to lecture, I also realized that a two-hour lecture was just too long if you didn’t break it up every thirty minutes or so. How could I break things up and show students that economics was everywhere? At first I would just stop the lecture and illustrate a topic with an example from that day’s newspaper or by discussing how a scene . . .

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