This 2021 American science fiction series is based on the 1998 Japanese anime series of the same name. Set in 2171, the show focuses on the adventures of a group of bounty hunters.

 

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Concepts: Revenue, Cost, Profit.

Background: The bounty receipt provides us with some information about Spike and Jet's revenue but also some of their costs. While the reward for this capture was relatively high (the revenue), the costs were far from negligible. Spike and Jet receive a tiny amount of money when including all the direct costs kept by the authorities. However, those were not the only cost. They still have to cover their own expenses, which ultimately leave them no profit. As the quote from the clip exemplifies, it "barely covers fuel and nevermind food."

Question: Explain the difference between revenue and profit. Can we determine the heist crew bounty’s profitability just by observing their revenue?”

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Concepts: Incentives, extrinsic motivation, opportunity cost.

Background: Spike needs intel from the sushi chef, but the sushi chef is not interested in taking risks to get it. However, after Spike shows him a large amount of money, the Sushi chef accepts to look into the information Spike needs.

Question: Why did the money provided by Spike change the sushi chef's answer? Explain using basic economics concepts.

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Concepts: Shortage, price elasticity of demand, arbitrage possibility, black market.

Background: Jet wants to offer his daughter a rare and expensive doll. However, stocks are minimal, and the doll is available in only a few stores. Besides, the doll is not available in any stores where Jet currently is. However, an illegal reseller has one for sale for five times the price. Given how important the doll is for Jet's daughter, he purchases the doll from the illegal reseller.

Question 1: From this situation, explain why the doll's market is not at equilibrium and instead exemplifies a shortage. Could shortage encourage the development of a black market economy?

Question 2: After defining the concept of price elasticity of demand, draw two demand curves that represent the demand for this rare doll and the demand for a regular doll.

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Concepts: Deadweight loss, taxes.

Background: Jet gifts his daughter a dog for her birthday. However, in Cowboy Bebop's world, dog owners are highly taxed. So the mother rejects the present and asks Jet to get the puppy back because of how expensive dog ownership taxes are.

Question: What is the effect of a tax on a market's equilibrium? Draw a graph to illustrate your answer.

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Concepts: Normal goods.

Background: Even though Jet doesn’t seem to know what bidets are made for, he describes them as addictive and therapeutic. Jet likes bidets but does not have the income to buy some. However, he said he would purchase two of them when he gets enough money.

Question: Based on Jet's description, what type of goods are bidets?

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Concepts: Scarcity, tragedy of the commons.

Background: Hot water is scarce, especially in a spaceship where everybody has free access to the shower. And so, when Faye overuse water in the shower, others are negatively affected, as they do not have hot water for their own showers.

Question: Discuss if hot water is a rivalrous or non-rivalrous good and if it can be considered excludable or non-excludable. To what economic problems this situation refers to?

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Concepts: Skilled labor, trade–off, productivity.

Background: Jet has some knowledge about mechanics, but he is not a trained expert. This allows him to make some repairs on the spaceship, but they may not always be appropriate. The clip portraits a situation where a mechanical expert looks at and needs to fix an improper repair that Jet made.

Question: Should Jet repair the spaceship on his own? Using the concept of trade-off, discuss the pros and cons of using a professional repair service for somebody who has some knowledge about what needs to be repaired.

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Concepts: Decision-making, opportunity cost, alternatives, trade-off.

Background: Faye does not know her origins. However, she has just discovered some information that could lead to finding more about where she comes from. At the same time, Jet needs her help to save Spike. She must decide whether to follow one or the other path.

Question: Explain how economists would recommend Faye to make this decision.