From Rabbit Ears to Flat Screen: It’s Getting Better All the Time!
St. Lawrence University
affiliation not provided to SSRN
September 1, 2010
HOMER ECONOMICUS: THE SIMPSONS AND ECONOMICS, Josh Hall, ed., Springer, 2011
The belief that American middle class economic well-being has stagnated, if not declined, is common place in the media and among many pundits. However, the economic data on what sorts of goods are actually in the households of American families suggest that life has never been better, both for the average and poorest American families. We present some of those data, focusing on basic household appliances and technology. We then show how twenty years of the TV show "The Simpsons" illustrates these changes through the improvements in their standard of living. From TVs to cell phones to computers, even as the Simpson family remained solidly “upper-lower-middle class,” the rising buying power of Homer’s wages and the falling cost of production combined to bring them consumption possibilities their earlier selves did not have.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
Keywords: Standard of Living, American Economic History, Popular Culture
JEL Classification: I30, J38, N30Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: December 5, 2010
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