Uber and dating: marginal utility and opportunity cost : Planet Money First lesson: Economics is not about money. It's a lens of great power and beauty. In this episode, we meet our teachers and learn the first four fundamental concepts of economic thinking, and watch them applied to things like dating and hailing a cab. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
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SUMMER SCHOOL 1: Choices & Dating

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SUMMER SCHOOL 1: Choices & Dating

SUMMER SCHOOL 1: Choices & Dating

SUMMER SCHOOL 1: Choices & Dating

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/888690075/899883926" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Artwork by Therrious Davis Therrious Davis for NPR hide caption

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Therrious Davis for NPR

Artwork by Therrious Davis

Therrious Davis for NPR

Find all episodes of Planet Money Summer School here.

First lesson: Economics is not about money.

It's a way to see the world, a lens of great power and beauty. It can help us understand everything from the stock market to marriage and divorce to elections to the decisions you make in everyday life.

In today's episode, we learn to make decisions like an economist. We learn a few of the fundamental concepts of economics, then watch them in action. Our reporter applies the concept of opportunity cost to her dating life, and shrugs off the sunk cost fallacy. We put a deal for chicken nuggets to the test of marginal cost and marginal benefits, and we take Uber for a ride to cost-benefit test.

Concepts:

  • Opportunity cost
  • Sunk cost fallacy
  • Marginal benefit and marginal costs
  • Market equilibrium

Assignment:

  • Look at some facet of your life that you might not have thought was fundamentally economic. And look again. Now that you've listened, can you see market forces at work underpinning the decisions that people are making? Tell us about it. #PMSummerSchool

Music: "Lost Situation," "While We Lay Sleeping," "Baiser Fatal," "Welcome To California," "Organ Grinder," "Diamonds And Pearls," "High School Fashion," and "Lost Situation."

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