The Economics of Jersey Shore

Daniel D’Amico,

Release Date
July 24, 2014


Basic Economics

What could the denizens of “Jersey Shore” possibly know about economics? In a word: plenty; at least according to Professor Dan D’Amico of Loyola University in New Orleans. Let Professor D’Amico show you how Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi display a keener grasp of basic fundamental economic concepts than you might think – like the Law of Diminishing Returns, scarcity, opportunity costs, and the role of self-interest in the economics of public choice as it applies to dating, packed dance floors, fist pumping, and tanning. We bet you never thought getting “fresh to death” would teach you so much about economic theory. Sit back, relax, and welcome to the shore, baby!

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D’AMICO: Ho, ho, ho, ho! Mises, you scoundrel. Oh. Hello there. I didn’t notice you. If you’re anything like me, you probably believe that economics is everywhere. Well, with that in mind, I’d like to share with you a number of quips from one of my favorite television series, The Jersey Shore.
A quote from Mike “The Situation”: “A common mistake guys make is treating a girl — any girl — like gold. It’s the law of diminishing returns… bro. If you always treat a girl like a princess, she’s bound to get bored.” Though a repugnant commodification of love, Mike is technically correct. The first dates of a relationship likely yield more enjoyment than later activities. When the value of another date falls below the costs of getting “fresh to death,” or “F.T.D.” if you will, then heartache and break-ups ensue. And this is what economists refer to as the law of diminishing marginal returns.
MIKE “THE SITUATION”: Guess what? I’m about to smash tonight.
D’AMICO: Another quote from Mike “The Situation”: “Are you for real? Fist-pumping became a club necessity when the dance floor got so crowded from the bumping house music that the only place left to dance was up.”
Interestingly enough, real estate prices tend to be related to the height of a city’s skyline. Hence, in expensive New York, there are much taller skyscrapers than in nearby, affordable New Jersey.
MAN: That’s it. That’s perfect.
SNOOKI: I don’t go tanning tanning anymore because Obama put a 10 percent tax on tanning. And I feel like he did that intentionally for us.
OBAMA: We’re going to have some problems here.
SNOOKI: McCain would never put a 10 percent tax on tanning because he’s pale and he would probably want to be tan.
D’AMICO: Here we see Miss Snooki is actually a very informed and implicit public-choice economist. She recognizes that political actors are motivated by their own self-interest to gain re-election by appealing to voters.
SNOOKI: Obviously, he like f***ed his sister for a living.
D’AMICO: Oh. I’m terribly sorry. Pardon me. I didn’t realize the clip would be so short.
SNOOKI: I don’t care if you talk shit about me. Talk shit about me all you want.
D’AMICO: You see, dear friends, economics truly is everywhere — even along the gentle shores of Jersey..