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Homer Economicus: The Simpsons and Economics Paperback – May 14, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This work may be the exception to the general rule that economics books that carry a movie, cartoon, or literary theme are tedious. In a book that will capture the imaginations of avid readers of pop economics, Hall manages to pull together a collection that references all the characters in the popular television show . . . Recommended."—B. P. Keating, CHOICE


"This 16-chapter volume will prove valuable, not only to instructors seeking to make their economics principles classes livelier, but to general readers. Those who have long avoided the 'Queen of the Social Sciences' will find Homer Economicus a stimulating and pleasurable introduction to the field. They may well lose any natural inhibitions about thinking like an economist—which is not, as popular prejudice would have it, thinking cold-bloodedly or relying excessively on mathematical or graphical tools to model and understand human behavior. In Springfield, these authors show us, profound economic insights can emerge from the most mundane human activities, and we can develop a powerful intuition about economic decision-making by studying even silly or hilarious scenarios . . . So if you want a sneakily entertaining way to start thinking like an economist, grab a donut or a Duff, get comfortable on the living room sofa, and started reading about those two-dimensional but remarkably interesting creations of cartoonist Matt Groening."—Stephen J.K. Walters, Library of Law and Liberty


"Homer Economicus quenches your thirst for learning like a Duff beer. The reader, through the lens of The Simpsons, will learn more about economics is a few hours than any textbook can possibly teach. My advice is that you kick back, put your feet up at your desk and enjoy a donut or two while you read this fascinating collection. Mmm."—G. Dirk Mateer, Senior Lecturer, University of Kentucky


"Homer Economicus in action! The Simpsons is an excellent window onto the world of economics, and this book shows you how and why."—Tyler Cowen, George Mason University, blogger at The Marginal Revolution, and author of Discover Your Inner Economist

About the Author

Joshua C. Hall is Associate Professor of Economics at West Virginia University. Formerly an Economist for the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress, he is a co-author of the widely-cited Economic Freedom of the World reports and author of over 50 articles in journals. Hall has taught principles of microeconomics throughout his career.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford Economics and Finance (May 14, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804791716
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804791717
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #637,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Johnny & Riza on June 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Joshua Hall, Associate Professor of Economics at West Virginia University, likes to use Simpsons and Springfield references in his lectures. He mentioned the title as a proposed article to Professor Deirdre McClosky who said "that should be a book." I don't know if Hall has a low utility for work or a keen sense of Comparative Advantage, but he elected to solicit essays from other instructors rather than write the book himself.

He collected 16, covering "The Economic Way of Thinking," "Money, Markets, and Government," and "Applied Microeconomics." Each appreciates The Simpsons and the result is a very enjoyable read.

"The invisible hand, as well as the four-fingered invisible "yellow" hands of the Simpsons, applies to more than what people usually consider to be the narrow scope of economic activity."

"Unfortunately for Homer, he won’t be creating new money any time soon. For that matter , he won't be multiplying existing money either. Homer finds himself in the same situation as Bart in "I Don't Wanna Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." That episode begins with Bart writing over and over again on the chalkboard that he is not an FDIC-insured bank. D'oh!"

Economics is one area where one is not too surprised to find 16 academics who are sympathetic to liberty and distrustful of government and central planning. Where the discussion wends its way into politics. the distrustful will be sympathetic to the arguments.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Young on June 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Most academic disciplines disdain popularization in general, and pop culture in particular. This book is an example of why both those attitudes are misguided. It starts with the basics--the first chapters read as though they assume no prior knowledge of economics at all. While this reader was initially disappointed by how basic those early chapters are, I changed my opinion upon realizing that literally anyone who likes the Simpsons can pick up this book and be completely unintimidated by it. Chapter 2 stands out in particular for its quality of exposition and sense of humor. This alone makes Homer Economicus a valuable contribution; the world needs more people who understand the economic way of thinking.

Once the basics are established, the book progresses to more advanced topics. There are high-quality chapters on public choice theory, behavioral economics, and other subfields. But if the non-economist reader absorbs the earlier lessons--and even if not, in many cases, so accommodating are the authors--that what once seemed arcane technical gibberish comes alive in easy-to-understand examples from the show.

Homer Economicus would make a wonderful teaching tool for high school and undergraduate economics courses; teachers take note. It is also a good read for anyone who is a fan of the show, whether layman or professional economist. Bravo.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Humberto Bernal Castro on August 10, 2014
Format: Paperback
Excellent book, I spent reading it this weekend. Easy to understand for those who are not economist and non english natives. They merge episodes with economic issues such as monopoly, alcohol and drugs prohibition, gambling, money, labour market, international immigration and many other economic issues. This book deals economic issues seriously with accredited references in economic environment and Simpsons' episodes; it can be taken as additional reading for undergraduate courses on economics such as microeconomics, macroeconomics and introductory courses.
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I teach economics at a university, and I would like students to read this as an introduction to economics. The book is fun to read, and it introduces students to all important economic principles. More advanced students should already know everything contained in this book, but for those beginning their studies in economics, or for those who are not students of economics but want to understand economics just enough to speak about it intelligently and vote prudently, this is a great book.
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A Must for Simpsons fans and a brilliant introduction to economics. Hall's collaboration of authors do a fantastic job of discussing 'Human Action' in terms of TV's most interesting and hilarious family, the Simpsons. I loved this book and use it for my Economics classes as a teaching tool.
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