Survivor: Three principles of economics lessons as taught by a reality television show

Dean Karlan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The reality television show Survivor has been a ratings success on CBS for over 16 years. In the show, 16 strangers are marooned in a remote location, required to compete in physical and mental challenges and periodically vote to eliminate players from the game. The last person remaining wins one million dollars. The author uses this popular television show to demonstrate three important principles of microeconomics: (a) for individual decision-making, concepts like pride and honor may belong in the utility function, alongside more classical components such as consumption of goods and services; (b) considering how others will respond to your action is critical for good economic and strategic thinking; and (c) repeated interaction can help collusive behavior hold.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-228
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Economic Education
Volume48
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017

Keywords

  • Behavioral economics
  • game theory
  • preferences
  • Survivor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Economics and Econometrics

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