The Black Market and the Silver Screen: Economics in the Third Man
13 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2008
Date Written: July 10, 2007
The classic noir film The Third Man tells a story of a staged death, an over-inquisitive friend, and a hopeless lover, in the dark world of postwar Vienna. It is also an excellent demonstration of the effects of price controls and rationing, and of the unpleasant consequences of the resulting black markets. This essay shows how we can understand a character's actions using economic insights. More generally, we explore the economics of government price controls and coupon rationing and suggest that The Third Man provides a vivid illustration of their impact.
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