The Economics of Seinfeld

May 9, 2022
GEORGE: An idea.
JERRY: What idea?
GEORGE: An idea for the show.
JERRY: I still don't know what the idea is.
GEORGE: It's about nothing.
JERRY: Right.
GEORGE: Everybody's doing something, we'll do nothing.
JERRY: So, we go into NBC, we tell them we've got an idea for a show about nothing.
GEORGE: Exactly.
JERRY: They say, "What's your show about?" I say, "Nothing."
GEORGE: There you go.

I grew up watching and learning from Seinfeld. I even wrote my 60th consecutive blog post about a concept from the show (this is post #338 in a row).

It turns out the show is a good resource for teaching basic economics concepts as well. is a site with short clips and explanations of the economic topics that Seinfeld covers. Here are a few I enjoyed.

Moral Hazard: Jerry is renting a car because his was stolen. When he arrive to the rental car store, the car he had reserved had already been rented (You know how to take the reservation, you just don't know how to hold the reservation, and that's the most important part of the reservation!). When the agent asks if he wants insurance, he says yes and implies he is going to need it because he's going to "beat the hell out of this car!".

Sunk Costs: Elaine has a loyalty card at a local sandwich shop. She earns a stamp for every sandwich purchased, and she already has 23 of the 24 stamps needed for a free sandwich. However, Elaine doesn't like the sandwiches but is determined to get the free one.