1st Edition

War Movies and Economics Lessons from Hollywood’s Adaptations of Military Conflict

Edited By Laura J. Ahlstrom, Franklin G. Mixon, Jr. Copyright 2020
    122 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    122 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    War Movies and Economics: Lessons from Hollywood’s Adaptations of Military Conflict applies ongoing research in the relatively new genre of economics in popular media to Hollywood’s war movies. Whether inadvertently or purposefully, these movies provide numerous examples of how economic principles often play an important role in military conflict.

    The authors of the chapters included in this edited collection work to illustrate economics lessons portrayed in adaptations such as Band of Brothers, Conspiracy, The Dirty Dozen, Dunkirk, Memphis Belle, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, Spartacus, Stalag 17, and Valkyrie. Aspects of these stories show how key economic principles of scarcity, limited resources, and incentives play important roles in military conflict. The movies also provide an avenue for discussion of the economics of public goods provision, the modern economic theory of bureaucracy, and various game-theoretic concepts such as strategic moves and commitment devices. Where applicable, lessons from closely related fields such as management are also provided.

    This book is ideal reading for students of economics looking for an approachable route to understanding basic principles of economics and game theory. It is also accessible to amateur and professional historians, and any reader interested in popular culture as it relates to television, movies, and military history.

    1) War movies and economics: a survey of the literature
    Carlos J. Asarta, Zachary Ferrara, and Franklin G. Mixon, Jr.

    2) "45 cigarettes, the price has gone up": economics in Stalag 17
    Joshua C. Hall and Daniel Bonneau

    3) Did a game-theoretic device save the Lone Survivor?
    Franklin G. Mixon, Jr. and Carlos J. Asarta

    4) The ultimatum game in The Dirty Dozen: analytical and behavioral strategies
    Diego Méndez-Carbajo

    5) The private provision of a public good: an examination of Hollywood’s adaptation of the Third Servile War
    Laura J. Ahlstrom and Franklin G. Mixon, Jr.

    6) The Battle of Dunkirk: analyzing economics principles in two motion picture portrayals of an epic retreat
    Chandini Sankaran and Sankaran Ramanathan

    7) "Right in the pickle barrel": Memphis Belle and the core concepts of economics
    Rebecca G. Chambers and Franklin G. Mixon, Jr.

    8) Slow and deliberate, or fast and intuitive? Systems of judgment in Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers
    Franklin G. Mixon, Jr. and Kamal P. Upadhyaya


    Laura J. Ahlstrom is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Oklahoma State University, USA.

    Franklin G. Mixon, Jr. is the Violet Litchfield and Thomas Bryant Buck Jr. Professor of Economics, and Director of the Center for Economic Education, at Columbus State University, USA.