Beyond Buttered Popcorn: A Project Using Movies to Teach Game Theory in Introductory Economics

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Using short movie clips from popular films is an effective tool for teaching core game theory concepts including simultaneous games, the prisoners’ dilemma, Nash equilibrium, and cooperative behavior. Assessing student understanding of the topics through a group project reinforces fundamental economic concepts. The generational bias of the current undergraduate population toward technology use and video consumption coincides with this educational technique, allowing students to better relate to the material and process educational concepts creatively and effectively.

Sarah Burke, Patricia Robak, and Carolyn Fabian Stumph