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Ahead of yesterday's tutor2u Teaching Behavioural Economics at A-Level CPD event in London, Jon Clark and I were discussing the benefits of using short film and TV clips to illustrate key theoretical principles in the classroom. This clip, from Sesame St, is a super example that can be used to illustrate a number of Behavioural Economics and Market Failure principles:

Cookie Monster - Me Want It!

The AQA A-level Economics specification requires students to understand the concepts of bounded self-control and cognitive biases. In this clip, Cookie Monster knows that he needs to have more self-control about eating cookies and must learn to "self-regulate" - difficult, though, with his habitual consumption of cookies! A relevant cognitive bias here would be the notion of hyperbolic discounting. In technical terms, this means "time inconsistent discounting", or in plain English, we don't value the future as much as we should, placing too much emphasis on current consumption. It's also easy to link this concept with the market failure associated with demerit goods - why do people continue to consume items that are "bad" for them?

Here is another Sesame St clip, again with Cookie Monster:

Sesame St - The Waiting Game

This time, Cookie Monster has to wait for his cookie - and if he can wait, he gets two cookies instead of the one cookie he gets to wait if he can't wait. One cognitive bias shown here is the Rhyme As Reason effect, in which rhymes are perceived as more "truthful". In this case, Cookie Monster is distracted by a song containing lots of rhymes that tell him to wait.

And finally, here is Cookie Monster and Sir Ian McKellen learning about the word "resist":

Ian McKellen and Cookie Monster

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