24 Mar 2012

ECON MOMENT: Unintended Consequences

ECON MOMENT, Economics, Shameless Self-Promotion 14 Comments

This one is actually somewhat interesting. Like, even a 7th grader might be able to bear it. It starts out with armed robbery.

14 Responses to “ECON MOMENT: Unintended Consequences”

  1. Bharat says:

    I’ve always had a slight aversion for the seatbelt example of unintended consequences, although I agree with the concept in general. But I think this explanation was more clear than it normally is made. Also realized it’s a situation that’s hard for me to relate to because I’ve never NOT driven a car without a seatbelt. A lot of examples can also be cleared up by phrasing the question backwards. Rather than asking someone “Would you drive more recklessly with a seat belt on?” you can instead ask “Would you drive more safely without a seatbelt on?”

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Also realized it’s a situation that’s hard for me to relate to because I’ve never NOT driven a car without a seatbelt.

      You’ve never worn a seat belt in your life? Or only when you are in the passenger seat?

      • Bharat says:

        Haha, no, that’s apparently me getting confused with the number of negatives in that sentence.

        I’ve always worn a seatbelt while driving a car*

  2. Anonymouse says:

    Hi Bob,

    This is just some feedback, not really a criticism, but I think there may be other people out there like me who would like to watch your videos, but not necessarily for ten minutes at a time. There are just too many videos out there and too many articles to read.

    Also, I really like the idea of an “Econ Moment”, but I don’t think ten minutes really qualifies as a moment. If you could get your videos down to 1-5 minutes I think you could dramatically increase your potential for attracting viewers. At the current length, I think you’ll be limiting yourself to hardcore people with time on their hands.

    One potential solution would be to post both a long and a short version. You could use video editing software (Windows Live Movie Maker is free) to pare down the video to its essential thesis and a few supporting statements.

    • skylien says:

      I am sure Bob would attract even more people if he made it shorter, but then it would not be an econ “moment” for him anymore. Now he only needs to record it and load it up. If he creates two versions, he either would have to record two or edit them which certainly increases his efforts quite a bit. And he already explained that he doesn’t have time to do lot of editing etc…

      And I guess if you make it much shorter you cannot handle certain counter arguments as well as it is required if at all and then your case becomes seemingly much weaker…

      So far he has only 1 dislike in all of his recent econ moment vids 😉

      • Anonymouse says:

        “And he already explained that he doesn’t have time to do lot of editing etc…”

        Ah… I missed that. In that case, the long format may be good enough to start with, and if the increase in viewership starts to level-off, it may be a cue to consider introducing a shorter format in order to appeal to a wider audience.

      • Bob Murphy says:

        I’m trying to keep them short. In the beginning I told myself come heck or high water, they would never exceed 10 minutes. And then I think the 3rd one did. The problem is that I’m 8 minutes into it and glance at the clock, and realize I still have three important points to make…

        They will get shorter as I go on. It takes practice to keep my mouth shut.

        • Anonymouse says:

          One thing that might help would be a digital countdown clock (on your computer screen) that you position near the camera lens. Or a giant boxing glove that shoots out or your monitor and a preset time.

          • Anonymouse says:


            Or a giant boxing glove that shoots out OF your monitor AT a preset time.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      You’re right Anonymouse (must be divine intervention). I originally pictured these as being 4 minutes each. But I’m a former college professor; it’s hard to stop talking when I let the genie out.

      • Anonymouse says:

        In my experience, the more concise something is the longer it takes to produce, due to increased prep and editing time. Whereas a ten-minute video might take 20 minutes to produce, a 1-minute video (covering the same basic information) could take an hour, and a 0-minute video would take an infinite amount of time.

  3. Anonymous says:

    @BobMurphy: I just love the way you end every EconMoment video, as I love scholars who don’t take themselves too seriously. That ending should become your signature. Also, your vids aren’t too long; I can’t get enough of them!

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Thanks anonymous that’s what I’m going for. In case my homage isn’t clear, I’m riffing on Al Franken when he used to sign off like that from his SNL skits. (Of course my opinion of Franken went down when he went into politics.)

      • Ken B says:

        I’d rather have Bob Murphy in the senate than Al Franken.

        *bows and claims faint-praise award*

        And I’m sure Bob would rather be in the senate than in Al Franken.

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